On Feb. 1, the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force, established by Gov. Mary Fallin, released a comprehensive package of 27 policy recommendations aimed at improving public safety by holding offenders accountable, reducing recidivism, and controlling corrections costs.
If adopted by the legislature, the reforms would reduce the projected prison population by 9,267 beds, resulting in a 7 percent reduction in the current prison population and $1.9 billion in averted spending over the next decade.
The recommendations come after the Task Force engaged in a seven-month study of Oklahoma’s sentencing and corrections systems, analyzing data, evaluating innovative policies and programs from other states, and reviewing research on what works to reduce recidivism. The Crime and Justice Institute along with the Pew Charitable Trusts provided technical assistance to the Task Force.
The Task Force found that nonviolent offenders made up three-quarters of Oklahoma’s prison admissions, and developed recommendations to target those nonviolent offenders who can be more safely supervised and treated in the community. With an imprisonment rate that is currently 78 percent above the national average, and the highest female imprisonment rate in the country, the Task Force’s recommendations come at a critical moment for the state.
The Task Force’s recommendations will, if adopted:
- Focus prison beds on serious and violent offenders;
- Improve and enhance release and reentry practices;
- Strengthen probation and parole supervision;
- Ensure oversight and accountability; and
- Provide better support to victims of crime.
To read the full press release, click here.
To read the task force’s full report, click here.