State Chamber of Oklahoma Commends Passage of Criminal Justice Reform Measures

State Chamber of Oklahoma Commends Passage of Criminal Justice Reform Measures

Oklahoma City (April 25, 2018) – The State Chamber of Oklahoma commends the Legislature for passing a package of criminal justice bills that will safely reduce the number of incarcerated Oklahomans while protecting public safety. These pieces of legislation are supported by a diverse coalition including the Governor, legislative leaders, district attorneys, criminal justice reform advocates and the business community. HB 2281, HB 2286, SB 649, SB 689, SB 786 and SB 793 are now headed to the Governor’s desk for her approval.

“Excessive use of incarceration takes an immense toll on Oklahoma families and businesses,” said Fred Morgan, President and CEO. “When we lock up droves of Oklahomans, we reduce our state’s workforce. And when Oklahomans are behind bars for extended periods, they cannot meaningfully contribute to our society or economy. By passing these bills, Oklahoma is finally breaking its overreliance on incarceration and focusing on implementation of smart, responsible criminal justice reforms.”

The bills pending approval by the Governor include:

HB 2281: Creates a tiered structure and ranges of punishments for property offenses, based on dollar valuations.
HB 2286: Streamlines the parole process for nonviolent offenders and develops a process for granting parole to elderly and medically frail offenders.
SB 649: Distinguishes sentencing enhancements between those with prior nonviolent offenses and those with a history of violent offenses.
SB 689: Expands treatment options for offenders; minimizes financial barriers that delay successful reentry into society; places restrictions on offenders with technical violations of probation; strengthens supervision for domestic violence offenses, repeat offenders, and sex offenders.
SB 786: Creates a new level of burglary to distinguish from more severe offenses.
SB 793: Amends the penalties for certain drug offenses to align the sentence more closely to the individual’s conduct.

In addition, we also strongly urge lawmakers to pass the final bill of the criminal justice reform package, SB 1098. This bill creates the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to study and make recommendations to the Legislature on future modifications to Oklahoma’s criminal code. SB 1098 is awaiting consideration by the House.

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