Group seeks public vote on plan to reduce prison population

Ponca City Now - January 28, 2016 9:20 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A newly formed coalition dedicated to reforming Oklahoma’s criminal justice system is launching a ballot initiative for a public vote on policies to reduce the state’s high prison population.

A group of legislators, criminal justice experts and business and community leaders launched the group Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform on Wednesday and filed paperwork for two proposed state questions.

The ballot initiatives would reclassify several low-level offenses, like drug and property crimes, to misdemeanors. Cost savings from the changes would be invested into rehabilitation programs to treat drug and mental health problems.

Oklahoma has the second-highest incarceration rate in the country.

Former House Speaker Kris Steele says the effort to gather about 86,000 signatures to put the proposals on the November ballot will include paid staffers.


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