Gov. Fallin announces criminal justice system initiative

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) — Governor Mary Fallin launched a review of Oklahoma's criminal justice system aimed to develop reforms to better protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control corrections costs.

"Criminal justice reform is a priority for my administration and I am confident that we can find ways to make our communities safer and cut the growing cost of our state's corrections system," said Fallin. "With the task force, we have the right people and the right process to generate reforms that will improve public safety by keeping violent and career criminals behind bars and directing resources to programs that reduce rates of re-offending."

The Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force is made up of representatives from all branches of state government and Oklahoma criminal justice stakeholders. The task force will spend the next six months analyzing the state's prison, parole and probation populations and examining alternatives to prison and risk-reduction strategies. The governor's task force will submit reform recommendations during the 2017 legislative session continuing criminal justice efforts such as sentencing modifications for low-level drug and property crimes.

The task force, which is chaired by Fallin, includes 17 additional members:

  • First Assistant Attorney General Mike Hunter
  • Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh
  • Department of Mental Health Commissioner Terri White
  • Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBN) Director John Scully
  • Sen. Greg Treat
  • Rep. Terry O’Donnell
  • Jari Askins, administrative director of the courts
  • Former House Speaker Kris Steele, director of The Education and Employment Ministry
  • Tulsa County District Court Judge Doug Drummond
  • District Attorney Mike Fields, president of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association
  • District Attorney David Prater
  • Oklahoma County Public Defender Robert Ravitz
  • Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce President Roy Williams
  • Tulsa Chamber of Commerce President Michael S. Neal
  • YWCA of Oklahoma City CEO Jan Peery
  • Layne Subera, chairman of OBN Commission
  • Adam Luck, member, Board of Corrections

Oklahoma's prison population has increased 10 percent in just five years. State prisons also have seen a 21 percent increase in the female population since 2011. The state spends half a billion dollars annually on corrections and that number is on the rise.

The task force's priorities will be to promote public safety and hold offenders accountable, control corrections spending and taxpayer costs and develop cost-effective strategies to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.

The Crime and Justice Institute and the Pew Charitable Trusts will provide technical assistance to the task force.

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