Oklahoma selected for National Governors Association learning lab

Beverly Bryant - March 31, 2017 12:49 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin announces that the National Governors Association has chosen Oklahoma as one of five states and territories to participate in a learning lab focused on alternatives to incarceration for justice-involved youth.

“I am thrilled that the NGA has chosen to help Oklahoma address its struggling criminal justice system and over-incarceration crisis. I have long said that by using data, fact-based evidence, and innovative solutions, we can improve public safety, save the state money, and be a more moral and efficient government,” Fallin said. “This learning lab opportunity will help us explore proven strategies to reduce juvenile incarceration.”

The five states and territories chosen to participate in the NGA’s “Learning Lab on Alternatives to Incarceration for Justice-Involved Youth” are Oklahoma, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and the Virgin Islands. The learning lab, which is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is an opportunity to learn about another state’s successful and innovative solution to a specific problem.

Participating teams will study Virginia’s recent reform efforts, and investigate alternatives to simply incarcerating juveniles. Strategies that will be explored include: limiting involvement of low-risk youth in the juvenile justice system; reducing unnecessary out-of-home placement; closing large residential facilities; implementing developmentally appropriate approaches; and expanding community-based alternatives to out-of-home placement.

The team from Oklahoma will comprise:

  • Tom Bates – Oklahoma Department of Human Services Special Adviser
  • Cary Cundiff – State of Oklahoma Budget Analyst
  • The Honorable Judge Michael Flanagan (Associate District Judge Cotton County)
  • Rachel Holt – Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General
  • Tierney Tinnin – OJA Deputy Director of Communications
  • Melissa White – OJA Director of Education

The NGA Learning Lab on Alternatives to Incarceration for Justice-Involved Youth will take place April 11-12 in Richmond, Va. To learn more about the NGA’s Center for Best Practices, click here.


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