WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us Senior Director of Criminal Justice Reform Zoë Towns issued the following statement today upon the signing of Oklahoma Senate Bill 185:
“We applaud Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for signing Senate Bill 185 into law today, which makes critical improvements to the Pardon and Parole Board. We are grateful to Representative Josh West (R) and Senator Kay Floyd (D) for their leadership on this commonsense reform that received unanimous support in the House and Senate.
“SB 185 builds on the training requirements for the Pardon and Parole Board by ensuring that board members receive training in line with national standards. SB 185 also expands the pool of eligible Pardon and Parole Board appointees to include individuals who have worked in the fields of mental health and substance abuse, and requires that two members of the board have this critical professional experience.
“These changes equip the Pardon and Parole Board with better information about how people leaving prison can successfully transition to their communities.
“SB 185 furthers the progress made in the seven Task Force bills, signed into law by Governor Fallin on April 26. However, Oklahoma is now the top incarcerating state in the nation. We strongly urge Oklahoma lawmakers to continue to make criminal justice reform a priority through meaningful, evidence-based reforms such as SB 185.”