Package of Criminal Justice Reform Bills Ready for Action

Amir News, Oklahoma, Press

Bipartisan Justice Action Network Urges the Oklahoma Legislature to Swiftly Pass Smart Justice Reforms 

Oklahoma City, OK – Over the past year, Governor Mary Fallin, legislative leaders, district attorneys, business leaders, law enforcement, and reform advocates came together to work out a compromise on several significant justice reform bills that are now ready to move through the legislature. The Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system in Oklahoma and across the country, issued the following statement on the important package of bills:

Holly Harris, Executive Director of the Justice Action Network, said: “For years, Oklahoma’s criminal justice system was in dire need of smart, data-driven reform. We’re pleased that so many stakeholders came together to shape this important package of bills that will start to bring real, meaningful changes to the state while producing better public safety outcomes. These bills will begin to safely reduce the state’s prison population, improve public safety, offer second chance opportunities, better prioritize taxpayer dollars, and reduce the need to build new prisons that come with multi-million dollar price tags. We urge the legislature to get these bills over the finish line as quickly as possible.”

The measures include:

  • House Bill 2281: Creates a tiered structure and ranges of punishments for property offenses, based on dollar valuations;
  • House Bill 2286: Streamlines the parole process for compliant, nonviolent offenders and develops a process for granting parole to elderly offenders;
  • Senate Bill 649: Distinguishes sentencing enhancements between those with prior nonviolent offenses and those with a history of violent offenses;
  • Senate Bill 650: Makes it easier for those with nonviolent criminal histories, who have remained crime-free for a number of years, to apply for a record expungement;
  • Senate Bill 689: Expands available treatment options for offenders; minimizes some financial barriers that hinder successful reentry; places restrictions incarceration for technical violations of probation; strengthens supervision for individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses, repeat offenders, and sex offenders;
  • Senate Bill 786: Creates a new level of burglary to distinguish from more severe offenses;
  • Senate Bill 793: Amends the penalties for certain drug offenses to align the sentence more closely to the individual’s conduct.