prison overcrowding

The number of people incarcerated in American prisons is the lowest it's been in decades. But a new report from The Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit research group that wants to limit mass incarceration in the United States, tells a more complex story.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Baby Roman is just waking up from his afternoon nap and now he’s looking for a toy. His grandfather, Frank McCarrell, is trying to distract him from the house’s décor with a bottle of milk.

“He don’t usually be asleep this time,” said McCarrell, who just finished his workday to babysit for his daughter. “When I come home … usually he’s up and raring to go. Huh? You be running Papa around?

QUINTON CHANDLER/STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

Gov. Mary Fallin signed seven criminal justice reform bills this week ending a bumpy ride for legislation designed to curb prison population growth in Oklahoma.

Fallin says the measures represent smart ways to protect public safety, keep families together — and save taxpayer money.

Most of the legislation was introduced in 2017 but stalled in committee. This year, the bills were reconsidered after compromises between legislators, district attorneys and other government agencies.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and sitting in for Ryan Kiesel is Oklahoma City Democratic Representative Forrest Bennett about approval by the State Supreme Court for an initiative petition which if it gets enough signatures and passed by voters would increase gross production taxes to 7% to pay for teacher raises, several proposals get pushed at the State Capitol in an attempt to avoid a teacher walkout & the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee tells the director of the Department of Corrections ther

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday announced a compromise between district attorneys and Republican lawmakers on six bills they say will reduce Oklahoma’s prison population while maintaining public safety.

One criminal justice reform advocacy group is criticizing the timing of the announcement because the bills’ language still hasn’t been made public.

 

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 30 people sit uncomfortably on hard, wooden benches under the watchful eyes of Judge Tim Henderson. It’s late morning in Henderson’s courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse. Some people have been waiting for hours.

Most of these people are on probation, and they’re anxiously waiting for their chance to make a deal. Judge Henderson says these people broke their plea agreements.

COMING TO TERMS

Flickr / Wesley Fryer

The Oklahoma House approved legislation on Tuesday that reduces sentences for property crimes like larceny and forgery.

Republican Terry O’Donnell of Catoosa authored the bill. He says it will lower the state's overall incarceration rate and the number of women in prison — many of which are convicted for non-violent crimes like writing bad checks.

O'Donnell's office says prison admissions for property crimes grew by almost 30 percent recent years. The average sentence for those convictions has also increased over time.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and, sitting in for Ryan Kiesel, Stillwater Democratic Representative Cory Williams about the House failing to pass a Republican plan to fix the shortfall in the budget, House Minority Leader Scott Inman announcing his resignation from the state legislature as well as dropping out of the governor's race and the State Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional a law which would have added fees on to electric and hybrid vehicles.

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.

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