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Oklahoma State Senate 
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2016

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Criminal Justice Reforms

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved four criminal justice reform bills aimed at addressing the state’s prison population while still ensuring public safety. The measures were touted by Governor Mary Fallin in her State of the State speech this year, and were proposed by her Oklahoma Justice Reform Committee.

Sen. Greg Treat, R-Edmond, is Senate principal author of three measures that would hold nonviolent offenders accountable while still ensuring public safety and saving millions of dollars each year.

“We’re first in the nation in the incarceration of women and one of the top states for the incarceration of men—but prison is an expensive route for nonviolent offenders, who can easily become hardened criminals after serving time with inmates in prison for violent crimes,” Treat said. “These reforms offer nonviolent offenders the chance to rehabilitate and return to a productive life in the community while saving millions of dollars that can be used to better educate children and provide mental health care—things that will also help reduce crime. I appreciate Governor Fallin’s leadership in proposing these reforms that have had bipartisan support throughout the process. They’re supported by the District Attorneys Association, the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chambers of Commerce, and many other organizations representing a wide range of views. They all agree these are smart on crime initiatives that will move our state forward while still keeping the public safe.”

Treat, R-Edmond, is the Senate author of:

• HB 2472, which gives prosecutors discretion to file charges as a misdemeanor instead of a felony;
• HB 2479, which reduces the mandatory punishment for subsequent drug offenses; and
• HB 2751, which raises the threshold for property crimes to be charged as a felony to $1,000.

Senator Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, is the Senate author of HB 2753, which establishes means for broader use of drug courts.

“Drug Courts work. These individuals get the treatment they need to turn their lives around. They get their GED’s, they find work, they become more involved parents, and they have a lower recidivism rate,” Shaw said. “In addition, there’s a huge cost savings. Drug Court costs about $5,000 per year per person, compared to about $20,000 a year if we send that same individual to prison instead.”

Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, is the principal House author of all four measures.

“I am pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved these smart-on-crime, evidence-based measures that we carefully crafted with input from everyone who touches the criminal justice system,” Peterson said. “I hope this legislation will soon be on the governor’s desk for her consideration.

The bills will next be considered by the full Senate.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Treat: (405) 521-5632
Sen. Shaw: (405) 521-5574

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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