Provide sufficient funding for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to quickly graduate enough now troopers and agents to get force strength up to recommended levels.
Facilitate combination of public and private prison space to reduce Department of Corrections’ occupancy rate from the current 113%. Determine feasibility of repairing versus building facilities.
Thoroughly examine the December 2018 performance audits done by Alvarez and Marshal for the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections. Significant attention should be given to industry best practices and immediate legislation to implement recommendations.
Support and increase programs which fundamentally change a convicted criminal’s life and habits. Research shows that if a criminal is incarcerated and goes through a number of programs, such as halfway house placement, vocational training, anger management, AA, Courage to Change, and Prison Fellowship, his/her chances of returning to prison are significantly reduced. The legislature should produce a comprehensive 8 – 10 year strategy to reduce the burden on the current correctional system. Licensing requirements for job entry should also be reviewed and adjusted as part of the overall plan.
Reduce the number of incarcerations by using diversion programs (drug court, mental health court, veteran’s court, community sentencing, Women in Recovery and Remerge). The advantages of diversion programs for non-violent offenders are:
1. High rate of success
2. They cost about $5,000/annually/person vs. $20,000/annually/person while in prison
3. Participants are held accountable
4. Keeps participants working and paying taxes, instead of being supported by tax dollars
5. The children of participants do not have to go into DHS