Both Republicans and Democrats have identified criminal justice reform as an area for bipartisan cooperation next legislative session, an indication that momentum from voter-approved reforms continues as Oklahoma deals with a nation-leading incarceration rate.
A bipartisan bill to make sentencing reform measures approved by voters in 2016 retroactive is expected to get a lot of attention during the 2019 session.
Gov. Mary Fallin received high praise earlier this month after signing commutation requests for 21 inmates, which reform advocates believe shows a growing interest among the public to see nonviolent offenders released.
“I think voters are much more engaged on this issue than perhaps they have been in years past, and I think that will have a direct impact on the results we see in the next legislative session,” Kris Steele, executive director of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, a bipartisan coalition of community leaders, said.