Texas criminal justice reforms offer lessons for Oklahoma
The Associated Press - August 26, 2018 8:17 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Texas lawmakers say their efforts to reduce prison sizes and costs offer lessons for Oklahoma, where corrections officials are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars to build new ones.
Texas built $2 billion in prisons between 1989 and 1996, but a budget crunch helped launch bipartisan criminal justice reform measures in 2007. Those have allowed the state to close eight prisons in the past seven years and dramatically reduce incarceration costs.
Rather than spend more than $500 million on new prisons, Texas spent half that on treatment and diversion programs.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law a justice reinvestment bill in 2012. However adequate funding for rehabilitation programs never arrived.
Oklahoma Board of Corrections member Adam Luck tells The Oklahoman that motivation for reform may have passed.