Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 20, 2016
Senate Approves Criminal Justice Reforms
The full Senate has given bipartisan approval to a slate of common
sense criminal justice reforms. The four measures, which were proposed
by Gov. Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Justice Reform Committee, would
still hold criminals accountable, but represent a better approach
to dealing with nonviolent offenders that will help reduce chronic
prison overcrowding, reduce recidivism, and ultimately help save
Treat, R-Oklahoma City, Sen. Wayne
Shaw, R-Grove, and Rep Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, are the principal
authors of the bills which were approved by the full Senate on Wednesday.
“These reforms ensure public safety is still our highest
priority. The Oklahoma District Attorneys Association, along with
a host of other organizations, agrees,” Treat said. “We
must hold those who break the law accountable, and the most violent,
dangerous and predatory criminals should be behind bars. These proposals
have been well vetted and represent a smarter and less expensive
way to deal with those that commit nonviolent crimes.”
Treat’s legislation includes:
• 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.
A fourth measure, HB 2753 by Shaw, enables a broader use of drug
“Sooner or later, these individuals are released from prison.
If they haven’t gained the skills they need to change their
lives, chances are they will wind up right back behind bars,”
Shaw said. “Drug Courts work because those participating must
undergo treatment. Those who didn’t graduate must complete
their GED. They go to work. In short, they are much more likely
to become productive members of society than those who are simply
incarcerated with even worse criminals.”
Shaw pointed out the cost for an individual to complete that program
is about $5,000 per year, compared to an average of $20,000 a year
for a person sent to prison.
“I am pleased the Senate passed these smart-on-crime, evidence-based
measures to help us curb the growing incarceration rate that threatens
to overwhelm our state prison system,” said Peterson. “Our
continued focus on how we deal with nonviolent offenders strikes
a balance between right-sizing our system and ensuring that criminals
receive appropriate punishments for their crimes."
The bills now go to the governor for her approval.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Treat: (405) 521-5632
Sen. Shaw: (405) 521-5574