Gubernatorial candidates in Oklahoma are telling voters that it’s long past time to begin being smart on crime, not just tough on crime, says The Oklahoman in an editorial. The state prison population stands at roughly 25,000, we lock up more women per capita than any other state, and the list of crimes for which prisoners must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before being considered for parole has done nothing but expand through the years.
Corrections was an issue discussed by the candidates Wednesday. Democrat Drew Edmondson and Republican Mary Fallin each said our next governor will have to look at the issues that contribute to our high incarceration rate, such as mental health and drug abuse. “Every study of our prison system has told us the same thing – 80 to 90 percent of those incarcerated have a drug, alcohol or mental health problem,” Edmondson said. The Oklahoman says it’s encouraging to see that those who wish to be the next governor are indicate they’re willing to entertain new ways to deal with this serious and costly crime problem.