The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

Department of Corrections Wants Reform for Oklahoma

| July 6, 2017

Witnessing the director of a state agency plead with lawmakers to shrink the size of his department to save the state money is about as common these days as seeing a Blockbuster Video store. So when that actually happens, everyone needs to sit up and take notice.

Joe Allbaugh, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, led a remarkable presentation before the Corrections Board this week on both the importance and urgency of serious criminal justice reform.  Despite the overwhelming passage at the polls of two landmark State Questions in November of 2016 that are anticipated to reduce the Sooner State’s incarcerated numbers, Oklahoma still faces a 25% increase in its prison population in just nine years and, Allbaugh says, the state has neither the money nor the resources to handle it.  He believes the best solution is to institute the same conservative reforms, just as Texas successfully did, when Allbaugh led the Texas Corrections Department.

“If we don’t implement criminal justice reform, and we don’t make changes to accommodate the flood of new inmates, then we have only one option:  Open the back door,” Allbaugh warned his board members.

Warning also of the lack of rehabilitation in Oklahoma’s prisons, Allbaugh asked the board, “If we’re not the department of corrections, what are we?  Department of warehousing?”

This report from News 9, Oklahoma City’s CBS affiliate, captures the meeting and its substance quite well.  Please note, as the reporter very astutely points out, only one lawmaker attended the meeting.


ANDREW SPENO previously worked as President of Media Strategies at Dry Design Group, a media consulting firm focusing on work with law firms, political candidates, lawmakers, and private companies. Andrew was the main news anchor at the Fox News affiliate in Oklahoma City from 2001 to 2012, while focusing on political and investigative reporting. His work won more than 25 awards from the Associated Press, Society for Professional Journalists, and The Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.

At Dry Design Group, Andrew trained attorneys in a wide range of practice areas to provide legal analysis for the media, served as press secretary for several Republican campaigns, and worked to introduce civil asset forfeiture reform to Oklahoma. Andrew uses his wide experience in politics and journalism to promote conservative criminal justice reform to both lawmakers and the general public. Andrew was a political science major at Illinois College, attended law school at Northern Illinois University, and did his graduate work in broadcast journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University.