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Several Criminal Justice Bills Clear Early Deadline In Oklahoma

Three out of five measures that make up the Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s agenda this legislative session cleared an early deadline this week.

The bills that will advance attempt to eliminate sentence enhancements for most people convicted of nonviolent felonies, redefine which state prisoners are eligible for medical parole and create a hospice care program in state prisons.

Senate Bill 704, the sentence enhancement bill, strikes directly at Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s primary goal for the session – to bring the length of Oklahoma’s prison sentences more in line with national averages.

The medical parole bill is partially in response to rules the state used to determine which vulnerable prisoners to consider for release at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two bills that failed this week would have given a state agency deadlines to report potential savings from recently enacted criminal justice reforms – and establish a fund to help violent crime victims.

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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