criminal justice reform

Our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged is not only focused on informative and in-depth radio stories. We also want to strip away extraneous information and get down to the bare bones of state questions on the November 3rd ballot.

President Trump on Wednesday granted clemency to five people, commuting their lengthy sentences as part of his administration's pitch for criminal justice reform.

Four of the five people had been in prison because of drug offenses, while the fifth had been sentenced for food stamp fraud.

The five cases had been highlighted by clemency activists, including Alice Marie Johnson, who has worked with the White House on the issue, and who spoke at the Republican National Convention this summer.

MAIREAD TODD / KOSU

Oklahoma voters are being asked whether they want to change the state’s constitution to ban a method of increasing prison sentences for people convicted of nonviolent crimes. The measure is asking voters to take a deep look into Oklahoma’s sentencing laws.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a criminal justice reform group calling on Governor Kevin Stitt and the Department of Corrections to take steps to stem the spread of COVID-19, Tulsa City Council unanimously approved a new Hate Crimes ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity and the state Supreme Court denies Stitt's request for a rehearing on its decision over tribal gaming compacts.

 

Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council

Last week, a criminal justice advisory group in Oklahoma County reported that in the 2020 fiscal year, the county jail’s prisoner population reached its lowest levels in more than a decade.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The pandemic is making the already difficult process of building a new life after prison even more challenging. Government offices in charge of issuing legal identification closed at the start of the pandemic and now they’re taking longer than usual to deliver documents many former prisoners need to get jobs.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order Wednesday restoring voting rights to tens of thousands of Iowans with felony convictions ahead of the November election.

Iowa was the only state that still permanently disenfranchised all felons unless they appealed directly to the governor.

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that enough voter signatures were collected to put a question regarding sentence enhancements for nonviolent offenders on the ballot on November 3.

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The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said in a statement last week there are some flaws in an analysis that claims eliminating sentence enhancements for nonviolent crimes would reduce the prison population and save the state up to $186 million in 10 years.

Sentence enhancements are a tool that allows courts to increase the maximum range of punishment for defendants who have prior convictions.

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