FWD.us continues urging passage of all Oklahoma Big Six Criminal Justice Reforms
Oklahoma City, OK – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today, praising passage of HB1269 and HB1100, and urging Oklahoma lawmakers to continue to work to pass the six critical criminal justice reform bills currently being considered by state lawmakers:
“Yesterday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed two meaningful drug reforms — HB 1269, which will ensure that no one is in prison for drug possession, a misdemeanor under current law, and HB 1100, which will distinguish low-level drug possession crimes from drug sale. We applaud the House for passing these common-sense drug reforms and urge them to build upon this momentum.
“These two pieces of legislation are a part of the Big Six criminal justice package. Together these Big Six reforms will safely reduce Oklahoma’s prison population by 17 percent by 2028, keep families together, and ensure that Oklahoma’s tax dollars are spent wisely. In order to put a stop to prison growth, all six reforms must be priorities this legislative session. We urge state leaders to enact these Big Six criminal justice reform bills immediately.”
Background on the Big Six Criminal Justice Reforms:
Oklahoma’s criminal justice system is in crisis. The state has the highest incarceration rate in the country and the world and its prisons are operating at 113 percent capacity. Without reform, the prison population is projected to increase yet another 14 percent by 2028, topping 31,000 people in prison. This comes at a devastating and unsustainable cost to Oklahoma taxpayers and families.
Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, a coalition of business and community leaders, law enforcement experts, service providers and advocates, are supporting smart legislative reforms to reduce unnecessary prison terms, keep families together, ensure fairness in our courts, and better inform future policymaking. Six of these reforms will have measurable impacts on Oklahoma’s #1 incarceration rate. While there are many valuable criminal justice reforms up consideration, FWD.us believes the Big Six below should be prioritized.
- 780 Retroactivity Reform — (HB 1269 / SB 357) — PASSED THE HOUSE — allows people with offenses that have already been reclassified as misdemeanors, or to carry shorter prison sentences, to be resentenced under current law. Thousands of Oklahomans are being kept behind bars for longer sentences than they would have if they had committed the exact same offense today. This bill would ensure equity in these sentences.
- Supervision Reform (HB 2273 / HB 2218 / SB 618 / SB 616) brings Oklahoma’s probation and parole policies in line with the best research in the field. Incentivizes people on probation or parole to take positive employment and education steps. Ensures that criminal justice debts are not barriers to successful re-entry.
- Sentence Enhancement Reform (HB 2009 / SB 287) limits the powerful “habitual” enhancement statute for people with non-violent crimes.
- Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID) Reform (HB 1100 / SB 421) — PASSED THE HOUSE — distinguishes simple possession from PWID to give law enforcement more specific guidance in drug cases. Aligns PWID sentences with other states.
- Failure to Protect Reform (HB 2523) tiers penalties for child abuse, ensuring that non-abusive parents do not receive excessive sentences for failure to protect and are able to return home to their families.
- Bail Reform (SB 252) ends pretrial detention for people fighting misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges so they can return to their families and jobs while awaiting trial.