Criminal Justice

Parole overhaul, diversion funding sought to address SQ 780 shortcomings

Supporters and critics alike are calling for reforms and/or new funding to address the perceived shortcomings of State Question 780, a voter-approved initiative that reduced penalties for theft and drug use in Oklahoma, with one lawmaker even advocating “radical” change.

Ray Carter
November 8, 2019
Criminal Justice

Change in felony threshold tied to increased crime

In 2016, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 780, which raised the felony threshold for property crime to $1,000 per occurrence. Retailers, law enforcement officials, and private citizens recently told members of a Senate committee that the result of the state question has been an increase in crime.

Ray Carter
October 28, 2019
Criminal Justice

Oklahoma fees may be excessive, unconstitutional

Oklahoma’s use of court fines and fees may be excessive and potentially unconstitutional, according to experts who spoke at a recent Senate meeting. But law enforcement officials stressed that repeal of those fees will require an offsetting increase in state appropriations.

Ray Carter
October 23, 2019
Criminal Justice

Risk assessment urged for bail process

Under existing Oklahoma law, people arrested for crimes can post bail and be released even if they pose a threat to others, while other individuals posing no threat remain behind bars awaiting a hearing because of poverty, officials told lawmakers at a legislative study.

Ray Carter
October 22, 2019
Budget & Tax, Criminal Justice

Lawmakers told criminal justice reform requires increased spending

While many criminal justice reforms have been sold as a way to lower crime rates and taxpayer costs, lawmakers were told the reform process currently requires additional spending on treatment programs even as its unintended consequences are reducing the incentive for offenders to seek drug treatment and fueling a rise in homelessness.

Ray Carter
October 14, 2019
Criminal Justice

A look back at criminal justice reform in Oklahoma

Although Oklahoma has enacted a significant amount of notable legislation aimed at improving Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, more reforms are necessary to continue to reduce the state’s incarceration rate.

Kaitlyn Finley
September 27, 2019