rational, reasonable sentencing reforms? COUNT ME IN.
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DO YOUR PART To End Oklahoma's Incarceration Crisis.
Compared to the rest of the nation, our fellow Oklahomans are incarcerated roughly 70 percent longer for property crimes and 79 percent longer for drug crimes.
Our incarceration crisis is fueled in large part by harsh, extreme sentences that are stacked against Oklahomans to punish them for previous mistakes, to leverage them into guilty pleas or to scare them from presenting thorough defenses. These enhanced sentences unfairly punish Oklahomans for debts they have already paid and tip the balance of legal proceedings even more toward prosecutors.
Unfair, extreme sentencing leads to more of our family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Oklahomans in prison for longer periods of time. The result? Oklahomans pay more in taxes to imprison our people, reduce our workforce and leave families in poverty longer.
Oklahomans for Sentencing Reform is a diverse and bipartisan coalition of business and faith leaders, advocates and elected officials, and people directly impacted by Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. State Question 805 was filed to give voters the opportunity to vote YES on common-sense reforms.
Know The Facts
Oklahoma’s sentence penalties contribute to Oklahoma’s third-highest imprisonment rate in the country. The result is that Oklahoma taxpayers pay more than half a billion dollars each year with no improvement in public safety. This does not have to be the case. Time and time again, states have shown that reducing crime and incarceration go hand-in-hand.
Repeat sentence penalties, marketed as so-called “sentence enhancements” during the tough-on-crime era, became popular when it was thought longer sentences would deter people from crime and lower recidivism, but data have shown that is just not true. The best research shows that long sentences do not make us safer and reducing these sentences will strengthen our economy and reunite families without weakening public safety.
We already have evidence this reform will work in Oklahoma. SQ 780, which passed in 2016, lowered sentence lengths for several property offenses such as theft. Since then, property crime has fallen 3% while Oklahoma’s prison population declined by 10%. Oklahoma’s burglary rate has continually fallen every year since 2009.
Despite this, many of the same individuals who originally critiqued SQ 780 on the grounds that it would worsen public safety have expressed the same criticisms for SQ 805. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now.