Oklahoma leaders are promising a detailed study of the state’s criminal justice system with a goal of improving public safety and reducing prison overcrowding and costs, The Oklahoman reports. House Speaker Kris Steele, who successfully pushed for programs to divert more nonviolent offenders from state prisons, said Oklahoma was selected for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a program funded in part through the U.S. Justice Department..
“Thirty-six states have seen violent crime rate reductions in recent years, but Oklahoma’s violent crime rate remains unacceptably high,” said Steele. “The Justice Reinvestment Initiative will determine why this is the case so policies can be developed to achieve better outcomes through our justice system.” The Oklahoma initiative is a partnership with the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center, the Pew Center on the States, and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Similar efforts have been undertaken in several other states, including Texas, Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina.