Oklahoma CURE

Ensuring that prisons are used only for those who absolutely must be incarcerated and that prisoners have all the resources they need to turn their lives around.
GET INVOLVED

Connect with us

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN

Letter to the editor: Get ready to pay for more private prison beds

Jan 15, 2015 | by Lynn Powell

With the prison population topping 28,000, you can expect the governor and Legislature to begin contracting more private prison beds. An Oklahoma Public Safety and Justice Policy Council survey of 400 registered voters found that the majority of Oklahomans now favor prison reform. One of the key questions was: Would you agree to reducing prison sentencing as long as supervision is increased? The answer: 34 percent strongly agreed; 36 percent somewhat agreed; 7 percent disagreed; 13 percent strongly disagreed, and 10 percent were undecided.

By William Drew, Tulsa | Posted 19 hours ago

With the prison population topping 28,000, you can expect the governor and Legislature to begin contracting more private prison beds.

That's not going to solve the massive problems with the Oklahoma prison system, and it's only going to cost more than the $556 million proposed Department of Corrections budget.

In his "Smart on Crime" interim study, Rep. Bobby Cleveland said, "Oklahoma has 50,000 children with parents in prison, and 75 percent of them will be incarcerated like their parents." That is neither financially nor socially sustainable.

In that same study, retired Criminal Court of Appeals Judge Charles Johnson suggested that judges rather than juries set sentencing, do away with life without parole for non-violent crimes and use less incarceration and more GPS monitoring. He also noted that we're punishing the wrong people – the children.

An Oklahoma Public Safety and Justice Policy Council survey of 400 registered voters found that the majority of Oklahomans now favor prison reform. One of the key questions was: Would you agree to reducing prison sentencing as long as supervision is increased? The answer: 34 percent strongly agreed; 36 percent somewhat agreed; 7 percent disagreed; 13 percent strongly disagreed, and 10 percent were undecided.

The trend shows that Oklahoma voters are tired of wholesale warehousing and want change.

When will our governor and Legislature find the political will to make changes? Probably when they realize that voters are tired of merely filling private prison beds as a solution to our problems.

CLICK for link.