OKLAHOMA CITY -- Governor Mary Fallin signed four criminal justice reform bills on Wednesday; related to proposals she outlined in her State of the State address at the start of this year’s legislative session.
“These measures will preserve public safety while helping control prison costs and reduce incarceration rates,”
said Fallin. “According to all measures, Oklahoma has some of the highest incarceration rates in the country.
“Many of our inmates are non-violent offenders with drug abuse and alcohol problems who need treatment. This will pave the way for a wider use of drug courts and community sentencing as well as give judges and district attorneys more discretion in sentencing.”
- House Bill (HB) 2472, which gives prosecutors discretion to file charges for non-85 percent crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies.
- HB 2479, which reduces the minimum mandatory punishment for drug offenders charged only with possession.
- HB 2751, which raises the threshold for property crimes to be charged as a felony to $1,000.
- HB 2753, which establishes means for broader use of drug courts and community sentencing.
“I am pleased to see these smart-on-crime, evidence-based measures signed into law,” Peterson said. “Our continued focus on how we deal with non-violent offenders strikes a balance between right-sizing our system and ensuring that criminals receive appropriate punishment for their crimes.”
The bills were proposed by the sentencing subcommittee of the governor’s Oklahoma Justice Reform Committee.
The measures were endorsed by several groups and business leaders, such as the Oklahoma Policy Institute; the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber; the Tulsa Regional Chamber; the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association; Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) President Jonathan Small; OCPA Impact; Clay Bennett; David Rainbolt; and Adam Luck, state director of Right on Crime.