Oklahoma Lawmaker Hopes To Reform Corrections Again

Wednesday, September 14th 2011, 9:52 pm
By: News 9

Amy Lester, Oklahoma Impact Team

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma's female incarceration rate is the highest in the country. Violent crime is on the rise and the state is spending more and more money to lock people up.

Now, some Oklahoma lawmakers want to change the system.

Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele wants to make sure the state's using tax dollars wisely while also increasing public safety and reducing the number of inmates who reoffend.

"We're spending more on corrections than we ever have practically in the history of our state. And so that tells me what we're doing right now currently is not in the best interest of public safety," Steele said.

National corrections reform expert Dr. Ed Latessa told legislators and criminal justice officials Wednesday that using evidence-based behavioral programs and targeting high-risk offenders will lower recidivism rates and prevent crime.

Speaker Steele says keeping that in mind the state needs to use research and data to determine what works and what doesn't work here and make changes.

His corrections reform bill from last session becomes law in November. It increases eligibility for GPS tracking and community sentencing and limits the governor's role in the parole process.

Steele said he will write another corrections reform bill next session.