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Oklahoma Governor Signs Criminal Justice Measures Into Law

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Governor Mary Fallin signs four criminal justice reform bills during a ceremony Wednesday, April 27, in the Blue Room at the state Capitol.

Governor Mary Fallin signed into law a number of criminal justice reform bills Wednesday. The legislation is part of recommendations from a steering committee that met in the fall.

The governor signed:

  • House Bill 2472, which gives prosecutors discretion to file charges for non-85 percent crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies.
  • House Bill 2479, which reduces the minimum mandatory punishment for drug offenders charged only with possession.
  • House Bill 2751, which raises the threshold for property crimes to be charged as a felony to $1,000.
  • House Bill 2753, which establishes means for broader use of drug courts and community sentencing.

State Representative Pam Peterson (R - Tulsa) authored the bills and says the committee that devised these recommendations was not just state lawmakers.

"These were ideas from judges, from district attorneys, from public defenders, people that understand the criminal justice system and are definitely not soft on crime."

The laws take effect November 1.

State prison officials say state and private prisons incarcerate almost 28,000 inmates, 112 percent of capacity.

Kate Carlton Greer was a general assignment reporter for KGOU and Oklahoma Public Media Exchange.
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