Greater OKC Chamber lauds passage of criminal Justice reform legislation
The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recognizes and commends the Legislature for its passage of meaningful criminal justice reform that will help to reduce overcrowding in Oklahoma’s prisons while still protecting the safety of the state’s citizens. The passage of HB2281, HB2286, SB649, SB689, SB786 and SB793 – all headed to the governor’s desk for signature – reflects a goal of the Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Agenda.
“We would like to thank Gov. Mary Fallin, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Terry O’Donnell, the District Attorney’s Council, the Legislature and the State Chamber of Commerce for their leadership and efforts for this extremely meaningful and impactful step – the first of many - towards criminal justice reform,” said Roy Williams, Greater Oklahoma City president and CEO. “With the passage of this legislation, Oklahoma’s prison population is expected to be reduced by some 5,000 beds.”
The legislation awaiting Gov. Fallin’s signature will create a tiered structure and ranges of punishments for property offenses, based on dollar valuations; streamlines the parole process for nonviolent offenders and develops a process for granting parole to elderly and medically frail offenders; distinguishes sentencing enhancements between those with prior nonviolent offenses and those with a history of violent offenses; expands treatment options for offenders, minimizes financial barriers that delay successful reentry into society, places restrictions on offenders with technical probation violations, strengthens supervision for domestic violence offenses, repeat offenders and sex offenders; creates a new level of burglary to differentiate from more severe offenses; amends the penalties for certain drug offenses to more closely align the sentence to the individual’s conduct.
“One bill, SB1098, remains under consideration,” added Williams. “This piece of legislation would create the Criminal Justice Reclassification Council to study and make recommendations on future modifications to Oklahoma’s criminal code. We urge swift passage of this important piece of the criminal justice reform package.”