The legislature made important steps forward on criminal justice this session. More remains to be done.

There remains much work ahead as Oklahoma still incarcerates more people than almost anywhere in the world. As such, lawmakers missed opportunities to help curb the state’s ongoing incarceration crisis or make much-needed investments in county-level mental health and substance abuse services.  [More...]

Reducing our incarceration population is a matter of public safety — and public health

The state should continue reducing the number of people incarcerated in Oklahoma across the board by extending the early pandemic efforts, like expanding commutations and making permanent efforts that reduce arrests for certain non-violent offenses. These efforts are not only good for Oklahomans and public safety, but they serve the needs of public health as well.  [More...]

Mitigation efforts helped keep our justice-involved youth safer during the pandemic

Justice-involved youth have faced a heightened risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Youthful offenders, already likely burdened with childhood trauma and the stress of separation from family, faced considerable risks living in shared facilities with other youths during a highly infectious global pandemic. [More...]

Better Tomorrows Youth Justice Panel Discussion

On March 28, the Oklahoma Policy Institute released its latest report, which focuses on the state's youth justice system. To celebrate the report's release, OK Policy held an online panel discussion to look more deeply at issues impacting the state's youth justice system and the issues raised in the report. [More...]

Better Tomorrows: A Landscape Analysis of Oklahoma’s Youth Justice System and Suggested Reforms

Better Tomorrows: A Landscape Analysis of Oklahoma’s Youth Justice System and Suggested Reforms reviews the historical context for Oklahoma’s youth justice system, examines contemporary processes and actors within the system, and recommends a series of reforms that can help achieve better outcomes for justice-involved children and their families. [More...]

The 2022 session brings rare opportunity for significant progress in our criminal justice system

Even after progress, Oklahoma still ranks third in overall incarceration, with more than 21,000 people in state custody and another 26,000 under some form of supervision. [More...]

Oklahoma Policy Institute now includes tribal-state policy advocacy

OK Policy’s newly created Tribal-State Policy Analyst role will be pivotal in providing research and analysis on tribal priorities within a state policy context. [More...]

OK Policy Unveils Policy Priorities for 2022 Legislative Session

Based on feedback from residents statewide, the Oklahoma Policy Institute has developed legislative policy priorities for the upcoming 2022 legislative session that can help Oklahomans live healthier, raise thriving families, and ensure the safety of their communities.  Following the conclusion… Read more [More...]

Five years later: Voters still waiting for SQ 781’s investments in mental health, substance use disorders

Though the Legislature has again failed to fund the treatments that SQ 781 statutorily required, we know that justice reform has measurably reduced the prison population and that mental health remains severely underfunded. [More...]

The 2021 session saw passage of economic justice reforms, but Oklahoma’s prison crisis demands greater action

Criminal justice reform was a lower profile priority in Oklahoma’s 2021 legislative session compared to previous years. Despite this fact, several significant reforms aimed at increasing economic opportunity for justice-involved families were signed into law. [More...]