A kindred spirit in criminal justice reform
At our InterCity visit session with members of the criminal justice reform community in Columbus, Ohio, Melissa Pierson, deputy director of justice programs with the Franklin County Office of Justice Policy and Programs, called Oklahoma City and Columbus “sister cities” because of how much our journeys to criminal justice reform have in common.
Like Oklahoma City, Columbus was faced with the reality that an inefficient criminal justice system had a steep cost in its impact on families, the community, municipal budgets and the economy. Columbus’ approach to reform included building a new jail facility and lowering the number of people in its jail through common-sense reform. You can read more about their efforts here.
While Columbus may be a few years ahead of Oklahoma City on the road to a better criminal justice system, last month our efforts gained momentum through the first official meeting of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council. As the No. 1 recommendation in the report on our system compiled by the Vera Institute of Justice, it was a crucial first step toward lasting changes. I am grateful for peer cities like Columbus who are changing the narrative around criminal justice reform, and it is my hope that Oklahoma City will be a shining example for other cities who want to follow the same path.
Roy H. Williams, CCE
Chamber CEO & President