Unless the Oklahoma legislature acts, thousands of people will continue being released from prison with no form of supervision, the state’s high violent crime rate will remain unchanged, and state spending on prisons will increase by more than $250 million over the next 10 years, says a “”justice reinvestment” report quoted by The Oklahoman.
A 20-member group of officials made recommendations to reduce violent crime statewide 10 percent by 2016 and provide post-prison supervision for all felons while containing growth in prison costs. “By doing nothing, our current path is unsustainable,” said House Speaker Kris Steele. Suggestions include requiring supervision for all felony offenders; 51 percent of those leaving prison now have no supervision. It also calls for increasing the availability of substance abuse treatment, and developing community-based mental health care centers. The report recommends spending $110 million from fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2021, with an expected savings of $249 million that would otherwise be spent on the growing prison population.