prison overcrowding

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to a receptive audience Thursday when he addressed members of the Oklahoma Sheriffs' Association at Rose State College in Midwest City.

Sessions said law enforcement nationwide is dealing with an increase in the violent crime rate, gangs, the opioid epidemic and threats of terrorism. Sessions says these issues are combined with cultural changes that concern him.

Oklahoma Rehab Work Camps Were About To Be Regulated. Then A Friend Stepped In

Oct 18, 2017
okhouse.gov

This story was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at revealnews.org and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, here.

Chicken Workers Sue, Saying They Were Modern-Day Slaves

Oct 12, 2017
Shane Bevel / Reveal

Three Oklahoma men filed a federal class-action lawsuit today alleging that they were modern-day slaves forced by a drug rehabilitation program to work for free in chicken processing plants.

How An Oklahoma Drug Court Rehab Kept Its Participants' Workers' Comp

Oct 9, 2017
Shane Bevel / Reveal

After Fred Barbee broke his ankle while working at a chicken processing plant in Arkansas, he expected time off to heal.

But he wasn’t in a normal workplace. A drug court judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had sent Barbee to a drug rehabilitation program called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, or CAAIR. The program makes men work without pay at plants owned by Simmons Foods Inc.

They Thought They Were Going To Rehab. They Ended Up In Chicken Plants

Oct 4, 2017
Gabriel Hongsdusit / Reveal

The worst day of Brad McGahey's life was the day a judge decided to spare him from prison.

McGahey was 23 with dreams of making it big in rodeo, maybe starring in his own reality TV show. With a 1.5 GPA, he'd barely graduated from high school. He had two kids and mounting child support debt. Then he got busted for buying a stolen horse trailer, fell behind on court fines and blew off his probation officer.

Thirty-three states have passed criminal justice reform in an attempt to reduce prison populations and save money.

But although voters in Oklahoma approved ballot initiatives enacting reforms in November, some lawmakers have filed bills to repeal the reforms.

Prisons in Oklahoma are at a 109 percent capacity, creating safety issues and budget problems. There's no money for treatment, and things are so dire, many inmates are sleeping in makeshift spaces like the cafeteria.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Grapple With Budget Shortfall

Jan 25, 2017
Dave Newman / Shutterstock

When Oklahoma's legislature reconvenes in a few weeks, lawmakers will have plenty to deal with. Most pressing on the agenda is a $900 million budget shortfall.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is exploring the possibility of making changes to the sales tax code by eliminating some exemptions in order to meet the budgetary demands. 

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 prediction from Governor Fallin that she will be facing a shortfall of $500M to $600M for her executive budget and news that the Trump Administration is not picking her to be the Secretary of the Interior.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma’s prisons are crowded, and the state continues to incarcerate offenders at the second- highest rate in the nation, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Two state questions on the November 8 ballot aim to ease both of those strains.  

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the political fallout over what has now become the strongest earthquake in Oklahoma history at 5.8 magnitude this past Saturday, the declaration by Governor Fallin of no special session to use $140M in surplus money for teacher raises and a lawsuit by medical marijuana supporters saying Attorney General Scott Pruitt's rewrite of their ballot initiative is biased.

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