Austin, TX — On Tuesday, the Oklahoma legislature held final votes in each chamber to send all seven criminal justice reform bills to Governor Fallin that came from the Governor’s Task Force recommendations. All seven bills passed easily with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. The Governor then signed the bills on Thursday.
“The lawmakers who worked tirelessly to bring these bills to the Governor’s desk deserve our thanks and praise,” said Andrew Speno, Right on Crime’s Oklahoma state director. “This is a tremendous step forward toward our goal of safely reducing our bloated prison population. But this must not be the last step. Oklahoma is still on track to grow its inmate population by 12 percent over the next 10 years. We hope lawmakers will continue this great work by building upon these initiatives in 2019.”
The bills aim to safely reduce Oklahoma’s bloated and ineffective corrections’ system, which currently holds the title of the second highest imprisonment rate in the country. Although the official data has not been finally calculated yet, we expect Oklahoma to surpass Louisiana soon to have the largest imprisonment rate in the country.
Oklahoma’s prisons are currently at 112 percent above capacity, not including the 1,146 prisoners located in local jails due to overcrowding. Without action, it was anticipated that the prison population would grow another 25 percent by 2026, costing taxpayers billions.
Other conservative states such as Texas, Mississippi, Utah and Georgia have all made similar reforms aimed at reducing their own prison populations to see crime continue to drop while more money was freed up for recidivism reducing programming.
Right on Crime applauds Gov. Mary Fallin for signing the bills. For more information on each bill, please click here.
Right on Crime is a national campaign of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with the American Conservative Union Foundation and Prison Fellowship, that supports conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs. The movement was born in Texas in 2005, and in recent years, dozens of states such as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, have led the way in implementing conservative criminal justice reforms.
Right on Crime has the support and works to mobilize the voices of more than ninety prominent conservative leaders who have endorsed the principles of conservative criminal justice reform, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Right on Crime spokespersons, please contact Kevin McVicker at (703) 739-5920 or [email protected].