Get Smart On Crime
As of today, your state prisons are at 116 percent capacity and are staffed at about 60 percent of where they should be. That’s a crisis. … If we don’t address this ourselves, we are one lawsuit away, one federal judge, one federal court away from someone other than the people you elect deciding how you operate corrections.
-Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman
Oklahoma taxpayers are spending more on prisons to be less safe.
- Oklahoma ranks 1st in the nation for incarceration of women per capita and 4th for men. More than two-thirds of Oklahomans entering prison are non-violent offenders.
- All of this incarceration is not paying off in public safety, either—in 2013, the violent crime rate in Oklahoma was 20 percent higher than the national average.
- In numerous ways, Oklahoma continues to punish ex-felons long after they have paid their debt to society. Obstacles like job restrictions, excessive fees and fines, and restrictions on basic aid can make it extremely difficult just to survive out of prison without returning to crime.
Oklahoma has a clear choice: Spend far more to maintain our sky-high incarceration rates, or get “smart on crime” by embracing less costly alternatives to prison.
Oklahoma’s overcrowded, understaffed criminal justice system is at the breaking point. To avert a disaster, we need to move quickly to reduce incarceration and expand evidence-based alternatives to prison.
What you can do:
- Contact Your Legislators and tell them to prioritize education funding over tax cuts and tax breaks
- Engage Your Community
- Join Our Grassroots Movement
- Fact Sheet: Get Smart On Crime (Together Oklahoma)
- Every sentence is a life sentence: 3 barriers to life after prison (Oklahoma Policy Institute)
- Criminal Justice bills to watch (Oklahoma Policy Institute)