It’s just a building in downtown Oklahoma City but city leaders hope it will come to symbolize the birth of a new era in criminal justice.

Mayor Mick Cornett took the opportunity at this week’s ribbon-cutting to promote criminal justice reform. This municipal court system will prioritize, for the first time in Oklahoma, pre-trial justice by conducting indigency hearings for offenders who cannot pay their fines. It will also offer OR bonds to people who do not pose a public safety threat.

This is very exciting for Oklahoma because Mayor Cornett is among five other GOP candidates, and three Democratic gubernatorial candidates, making criminal justice reform a platform priority. We have been meeting with candidates all over the state, at all levels of government, to encourage them to promote criminal justice reform as a priority issue.

We’ve had great success.

Right on Crime has worked directly with candidates for Governor, Labor Commissioner and Oklahoma County Commissioner by providing data, research and input on crafting policy goals. Among their greatest concerns are the financial and human total of over-crowding in both state prisons and county jails, the failure to treat mental illness during incarceration, and pre-trial justice for suspects who have been arrested but not convicted. Right On Crime, working in a coalition with other criminal justice reform groups, is making a significant impact in Oklahoma by changing attitudes among conservative lawmakers and candidates.