Today, Right on Crime Oklahoma, the Sooner State’s branch of the nation’s most prominent conservative criminal justice reform campaign, issued the following statement concerning the beneficial impact of State Questions 780 and 781:
Andrew Speno, the spokesman for Right on Crime Oklahoma noted: “Questions 780 and 781 will bring Oklahoma into alignment with successful reforms in other conservative states that give nonviolent offenders a second chance while ensuring prisons can focus on locking up those who are dangerous. Research shows that those who commit offenses such as possessing a small amount of drugs or writing a hot check can be more effectively held accountable through sanctions such as probation and drug court where they must earn a living, support their family, and stay clean, instead of being a burden on taxpayers behind bars.”
Marc Levin, Policy Director for the national Right on Crime campaign, who will be joining Mr. Speno to meet with Oklahoma leaders this week, added: “It is critical that the public understand that state questions 780 and 781 focus only on low-level, nonviolent offenders. By giving these individuals a second chance so that they do not have a lifelong felony record, these measures will pave the way for them to be productively employed as a contributor to society, rather than a drain on our resources.”
Greg Glod, Manager of State Initiatives for the national Right on Crime campaign, who will also be in Oklahoma this week: “We are pleased that state questions 780 and 781 provide for reinvesting some of the savings on prison costs. This will strengthen local public safety programs, such as policing efforts to prevent crime, drug courts and other problem-solving courts, and mental health treatment for offenders whose offending is related to mental illness. Such reinvestment policies have been proven to work, as other states such as Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia that have followed this model have achieved sharper crime declines than in states that have not acted.”
Right on Crime was launched in 2010 as a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the state’s free-market think tank. Right on Crime built upon TPPF’s work since 2005 to reform the criminal justice system in Texas that contributed to a 29% reduction in crime and 14% reduction in incarceration from 2005 to 2015. In 2015, Right on Crime made Oklahoma its first state outside of Texas with a full-time staff member and worked collaboratively with policymakers to advance reforms in the 2016 legislative session to enhance public safety and control costs to taxpayers.