WASHINGTON, DC – A new poll released today by FWD.us shows Oklahoma voters across the political spectrum support bold reforms to the state’s criminal justice system. Four out of five registered voters in Oklahoma believe it is important to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated.
“The people of Oklahoma clearly support recently enacted criminal justice reforms and overwhelmingly support continued criminal justice reforms in the state,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “These poll results show that Oklahoma voters are expecting their state elected officials to advance additional policy reforms that will safely and significantly drive down incarceration and save taxpayer dollars.”Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate for both men and women in the world. This poll shows that voters in Oklahoma want state lawmakers to take bold action and reduce the jail and prison population. Nearly three-fourths of voters polled believe the state’s criminal justice system needs “significant improvements,” and after hearing more about the issue 90 percent of voters believe that it is important to reduce the jail and prison population.
In addition, the results show that 76 percent of Oklahoma voters support State Question 780 retroactivity, which would allow people convicted of simple drug possession before the law changed the punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor to be resentenced. The survey found that support for criminal justice policy reforms cuts across political party affiliations, with majority support for these proposals from Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
The timing of these results comes at a vital time for state lawmakers. Oklahoma taxpayers spent $575 million on the prison system in 2017, and those numbers are expected to rise if bold action is not taken to reduce the jail and prison population.