One of every 12 Oklahoma adults has been sentenced to prison or probation for a felony offense, says a study presented to the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission, reports The Oklahoman. “Everybody knows that, historically, Oklahoma has a high incarceration rate,” said K.C. Moon of the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center, which conducted the study. The commission wants to improve how former prisoners are integrated back into society. The report should give lawmakers a better idea of the scope of the problem, Moon said.
Ex-inmates face “invisible punishments” such as losing access to social services like food stamps, welfare and student loans, Moon said. Former inmates also are likely to be denied jobs and turned down for buying a home. “We can build all the prisons we want to, but that’s not going to solve the problem,” said state Sen. Richard Lerblance, chairman of the Sentencing Commission. Overall, 1 in 23 Oklahoma adults have served time in prison, compared with 1 in 37 adults nationally.