A proposal to spend Oklahoma criminal justice dollars differently should be taken seriously by lawmakers, editorializes The Oiklahoman. Current practices are unsustainable. The Council of State Governments Justice Center sought input from prosecutors, judges, Department of Corrections workers and others before producing a plan that center says will save money and produce a better mousetrap.
Oklahoma’s violent crime rate the past 10 years hasn’t fallen nearly so far as the national average. This plan would give law enforcement more help to fight crime and would attempt to manage better the flow into and out of our prisons. It comes with a cost — $110 million worth of investments over the next decade. Implementing the plan would produce savings of $249 million during that time. The newspaper says the proposal would apply the brakes to the runaway train that is Oklahoma’s prison population. Instead of growing by more than 2,500 to a total of 29,720 in fiscal year 2021, as is projected, the inmate population would increase by about 600 during that time. Beginning in 2014, the slower-growing prison population would save the state $13 million annually.