Criminal Justice Reform Measure Goes To Vote Of The People

Thursday, July 30th 2020, 4:31 pm
By: Storme Jones


A criminal justice reform measure to eliminate sentence enhancements for non-violent crimes will go to a vote of the people.

State Question 805 received nearly 250,000 validated signatures qualifying for a 2020 vote.

“For crimes the state legislature has said are non-violent, State Question 805 says, ‘Look, you can’t enhance someone's sentence just because maybe they've been arrested for drugs in the past,’” Trent England with the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs said.

The measure is opposed by many district attorneys.

"Rewarding criminal behavior by basically saying 'Now, if you do this again, it's the same penalty,’ is nothing more than positive reinforcement of negative behavior, which increases negative behavior,” Payne and Logan Counties District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas said. “It's shameful."

“The district attorneys just aren't looking at the research which shows that really long prison sentences do not help to deter people from committing crimes,” England said.

Governor Kevin Stitt has until Aug. 24 to set an election date or add it to the November ballot.