WASHINGTON, DC — FWD.us Vice President of Criminal Justice Reform Zoë Towns issued the following statement on the defeat of State Question 805 in Oklahoma:
“For the past year, Oklahomans have worked tirelessly to approve an ambitious ballot initiative that would have ended Oklahoma’s regressive two- and three-strikes laws for people convicted of nonviolent offenses and reduced Oklahoma’s startling high incarceration rate. FWD.us is tremendously proud to have supported this historic campaign alongside so many local and national partners working to end Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis.
“State Question 805 would have ended the practice of increasing prison sentences for nonviolent offenses above the statutory maximum because of prior nonviolent convictions. This common-sense reform could have prevented cruel sentences like the one handed down to Damita Price, whose son died while she was in prison serving a life without parole sentence for selling drugs to buy the medicine he needed to stay alive. Today’s loss is extremely sad and scary for the tens of thousands of Oklahomans impacted by sentences like Damita’s.
“Opponents of criminal justice reform have spent the past year spreading misinformation and outright lies about State Question 805 but we see these tough on crime tactics for what they are: the last gasps of an era that will soon be condemned to history books. Oklahomans are fed up with being the world’s incarceration leader and there is a criminal justice reform movement taking shape in the state that is larger, more diverse, and more committed than ever before.”