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Published 02/18/2020 | Reading Time 1 min 11 sec
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) announced today their endorsement of State Question 805 (SQ805) is the right step forward as Oklahoma confronts its mass incarceration crisis.
Oklahoma has recently taken steps to address its mass incarceration crisis, but a critical aspect that still must be fixed is sentence enhancements. Sentence enhancements are a tool prosecutor use, at their own discretion, to add years and sometimes decades to a person’s sentence. These harsh sentencing practices have been levied against blacks and minority communities in Oklahoma for decades, which is why the Oklahoma State Conference, NAACP announced today their endorsement of SQ805.
“Oklahoma’s black and minority communities make up a disproportionate share of our state’s prison population, and a leading reason for that is prosecutorial discretion with sentence enhancements that allows people to be sentenced more than once for the same crime,” said Anthony R. Douglas, President, Oklahoma State Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
We are fully aware that District Attorneys across the state have also publicly opposed the measure, saying it would negatively impact public safety. However, what they don’t tell you is that the over-incarceration of blacks and minority populations is not because these Oklahomans are more prone to commit crimes. What they should tell you is that this bad policy that has hurt many blacks and minority communities and can be fixed with State Question 805.
Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate of black men and women in the nation. One in 29 African American adults in Oklahoma is in prison. Black people make up 7% of the Oklahoma population, but 26% of the incarcerated population. Latinos make up 9% of the Oklahoma population, but 15% of the incarcerated population.