Bipartisan Group Praises Gov. Fallin and State Leaders, Urges Legislature to Act
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan group working to reform the justice system in Oklahoma and across the country, applauds Governor Mary Fallin and the Justice Reform Task Force for the release of a year-long report that offers real solutions to fix to the state’s criminal justice system. The Task Force recommended the state pursue policies that would reduce the prison population by focusing on supervision and sentencing alternatives proven to be more effective at reducing crime and costs to the taxpayer. The proposed reforms are estimated to avert the need for prison construction, saving the state almost $2 billion over the next 10 years.
Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “Today, we learned exactly why Governor Fallin’s decision to create the Justice Reform Task Force was necessary for Oklahoma’s fiscal future and their public safety outlook. Thanks to Governor Fallin’s leadership and the hard work of bipartisan state leaders, Oklahoma now has a clear roadmap to reduce the state’s growing prison population while improving public safety. As the Task Force discovered, Oklahoma has a 78 percent higher incarceration rate than the national average, a figure that’s increased since 2015.
“These reforms will focus the state’s corrections system on rehabilitating more offenders to become productive law-abiding citizens, save the state money by avoiding costly prison construction costs, and ensure public safety remains a priority across Oklahoma. Last year, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Fallin signed into law, some good first step measures, but clearly more work is needed. With significant bipartisan support behind it, the Task Force’s recommendations are the right path forward for the state, and we urge the Oklahoma Legislature to swiftly take up these policies this session.”