The governor this week signed into law a bill that will allow for a victim-led restorative justice pilot program to be established in the state.
The purpose of House Bill 1880, by House Majority Caucus Whip Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, is to divert non-violent offenders from traditional prosecution and incarcerations models. Instead, cases are referred to the program and trained citizen-led mediation panels help determine punishment and restoration. The goal is rehabilitation of the offender through reconciliation with the victims and the community at large.
“I’ve looked at models from across the country where these programs have worked wonderfully,” West said. “Victims of crime feel restored, members of the community feel satisfied. Perpetrators of crimes know the weight of their actions and make restitution without having to serve lengthy jail or prison sentences. This is true criminal justice reform.”