For more than two decades, Oklahoma has turned to fines and fees instead of state appropriations to fund the court system.
In the second part of a three-part series with Oklahoma Watch, OPMX’s Kate Carlton Greer says the debt former prisoners now face has becoming increasingly burdensome as the state has grown more and more reluctant to raise taxes.
The roots of Oklahoma’s crime-funded court system start back in 1992 with State Question 640.
The public was mad about tax hikes, so they passed a referendum making it nearly impossible for lawmakers to raise taxes.
Legislators then began turning to other ways to pad the state budget, like fines and fees.