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Tulsa World Editorial: Prisons: Giving credit where credit's due

Feb 19, 2015 | by Lynn Powell

Senate Bill 112 is a reasonable piece of legislation that will modestly reduce the prison population and incentivize inmates to behave and improve themselves while behind bars.,More than 8,000 inmates are serving sentences for egregious crimes, meaning their convictions are serious enough that they cannot be considered for parole nor earn good credits until they have reached the 85 percent mark in their sentence.Under the proposal, inmates would be eligible to accumulate good-time credits throughout their sentence. Offenders still would serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, but if they behave and take part in education programs, they can shorten their time in prison after reaching that milestone

By World's Editorial Writers | Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:00 am

Senate Bill 112 is a reasonable piece of legislation that will modestly reduce the prison population and incentivize inmates to behave and improve themselves while behind bars.

More than 8,000 inmates are serving sentences for egregious crimes, meaning their convictions are serious enough that they cannot be considered for parole nor earn good credits until they have reached the 85 percent mark in their sentence.

Under the proposal, inmates would be eligible to accumulate good-time credits throughout their sentence. Offenders still would serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, but if they behave and take part in education programs, they can shorten their time in prison after reaching that milestone.

With cuts in funding and reduced programming, Oklahoma’s corrections policies don’t do much to make inmates better people by the time they leave prison than when they entered. That explains, in part, Oklahoma’s relatively high recidivism rate.

With more than 27,000 inmates, the state prison system is well over its capacity, creating a dangerous situation for corrections officers, inmates and the general public.

SB 112 does not give inmates something for nothing. It promotes good behavior while maintaining sentencing mandates.

The measure has cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee by a unanimous vote. The full Senate should embrace the legislation and send it to the House for similar treatment. In light of serious overcrowding the bill makes sense.

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