Published 06/29/2020 | Reading Time 3 min 31 sec
OKLAHOMA CITY — A new study by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) finds that State Question 805, a sentencing reform ballot initiative, should reduce the state’s prison population by 8.5% and could save Oklahoma taxpayers up to $186 million over the next decade.
The findings are the result of an analysis of how State Question 805 would reduce the number of people in Oklahoma’s overcrowded prison system as well as how that would reduce costs.
Yes on 805 recently filed signatures with the Secretary of State’s office to place State Question 805 on a 2020 ballot. If passed, SQ 805 will end the use of sentence penalties for nonviolent offenses.
OCPA is a non-partisan think tank with a mission to promote the flourishing of the people of Oklahoma by advancing principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative, and personal responsibility.
“Debates about sentencing reform should be backed by data,” said Trent England, Executive Vice President of OCPA. “We found that State Question 805 would reduce Oklahoma’s incarceration rate enough that we could close some of our oldest and most expensive prisons. That means less overcrowding for inmates, safer conditions for guards and lower costs for taxpayers.”
The ballot measure is supported by Yes on 805, a bipartisan initiative composed of community leaders, advocates and people who are directly impacted who seek to address the incarceration crisis in Oklahoma.
“This analysis backs up what we already know — that eliminating Oklahoma’s excessive sentencing practices puts us on track to become a better state,” said Sarah Edwards, President of Yes on 805. “The money saved by safely lowering our prison population can be redirected to rehabilitative services, resources for crime survivors, reentry programs or other public good initiatives.”
The campaign’s signatures are currently being counted and verified by the Secretary of State’s office. They will then be sent to Governor Kevin Stitt to place State Question 805 on a 2020 ballot.
More details can be found in the attached copy of the full impact analysis report.
About the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
A trusted source for fact-based public policy analysis for more than 25 years, OCPA promotes the flourishing of the people of Oklahoma by advancing principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative, and personal responsibility. Find out more at http://www.OCPAthink.org.
About Yes on 805 and Oklahomans for Sentencing Reform
Oklahomans for Sentencing Reform is a diverse and bipartisan initiative committed to implementing common-sense sentencing reform in Oklahoma. The group, which includes community leaders, advocates and people who are directly impacted, intends to stop the use of harsh and ineffective sentence penalties by advocating to put State Question 805 on the 2020 ballot. For more information, please visit http://www.yeson805.org/.