“Oklahomans are incarcerated roughly 70 percent longer for property crimes, and 79 percent longer for drug crimes, compared to the rest of the nation.”
Millions of people across the U.S. are acting with renewed urgency to defend Black lives in the wake of the latest killings of Black men and women by police. The movement to defend Black lives demands an end to police violence, but also asks us to rethink fundamentally how we build safe and healthy communities. How can we allocate resources differently? What kinds of services do communities really need to feel safe? And what institutions do we need to re-evaluate to serve us better? The American criminal justice system is an institution that has failed Black people, from their first contact with police, to prosecution, to prison. Dramatically shrinking the size and scope of this system, and safely reducing the number of people who are incarcerated, is critical to ending violence against Black people and Black communities.
In Oklahoma, we’re proud to be a part of the Yes on 805 campaign, which would roll back many of the state’s extreme sentences that keep too many Oklahomans in prison for decades, drive up the state’s prison population, and inflict harm and trauma on families that ripple out through entire communities. Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of incarceration of any state in the country, and the highest incarceration rate for Black people. These high rates are driven by long sentences for low-level crimes: Oklahomans are incarcerated roughly 70 percent longer for property crimes, and 79 percent longer for drug crimes, compared to the rest of the nation.