Oklahoma has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. We disproporionately incarcerate juveniles, elderly, and people of color. Our prison admissions of Native Americans has grown 71% in the last decade. Despite Black and Latinx residents making up only 9% of our population each, they make up 26% and 15% of our prison populations, respectively.

Without reform, Oklahoma’s prison population is projected to keep climbing, at a high cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, communities and families. 

In 2016, a small but diverse group of individuals combined efforts to lead the “Yes on 780 and 781” initiative. The group advocated for the passage of State Questions 780 and 781 in Oklahoma’s November 2016’s general election.

These citizen-generated ballot measures reclassified drug possession as a misdemeanor and created the legislative vehicle to reinvest savings from criminal justice reforms into prison alternatives and treatment.  Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly supported these common-sense reforms that make our community safer. Both initiatives passed.

By addressing the root causes of crime, and helping people who have committed low-level offenses return to productive lives, SQ780 and SQ781 fundamentally changed Oklahoma’s justice landscape forever.

In 2018, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform launched out of that small group of dedicated advocates. As a 501c3 nonprofit committed to research, education and advocacy, OCJR focuses on continued criminal justice reforms in Oklahoma.

Since 2018, OCJR has supported the release and reentry of thousands of Oklahomans through commutations, advocating for law changes, and pursuing data-driven criminal justice policy. 

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