Group Plans To Propose Prison Reform To State Lawmakers

Wednesday, January 27th 2016, 6:10 pm

Oklahoma has the second highest prison population in the country and one group says that's a drain on the state budget.  And they have come up with a plan.

“We have to fix this problem because it’s gotten to the point where we’re spending an exorbitant amount of money, and not getting any return on that. And we’re not any safer because of it,” said Representative Emily Virgin.

Representative Emily Virgin is working with community leaders on a ballot initiative to re-vamp the state's criminal justice system.  The group, calling itself "Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform" wants to see sentencing changed for non-violent, low level offenders.

“Those people we believe can be rehabilitated. And we are willing to give them that second chance because they are non-violent offenders,” continued Rep. Virgin.

Under the plan, the group says money saved by prison reform could be used to treat mental illness and drug addiction in offenders.  The group hopes to collect 86,000 signatures on a petition to have the initiative put on the ballot in November.