OK Leaders Agree on Criminal Justice Reforms

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Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders have reached an agreement with prosecutors to pass criminal justice reform measures that have been on hold since last year. The bills will be modified from their current versions; final language is not available, The Oklahoman reports. The bills involve issues including a new, tiered structure for property crimes based on the value of the goods, a streamlining of the parole process, and some shortened drug sentences. Fallin said that a criminal justice coordinating council will be formed to analyze and suggest wholesale changes to the state’s crime laws.

Kris Steele of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform would not endorse the agreement, saying that “no prison bed savings projection has been made and no bill language was actually provided.” He said, “From what we’ve heard, this appears to be a proposal that grows the prison population, albeit by a lesser amount than other prosecutor proposals. Until we see specifics, we’ll be encouraging our leaders to keep pushing for the full task force plan that safely prevents prison growth and puts Oklahoma on a more stable path going forward.”

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