Can Police Militarization Be Justified?

Governments across the world are attempting to combat crime. The United States, and in particular, rural Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have increasingly turned towards “tough on crime” tactics including military equipment and long sentences to curb crime in their jurisdictions. Unfortunately, these tactics are extremely flawed and only serve to alleviate  specific symptoms of crime rather than actually cure the […]

A Step in the Right Direction: 2022 in Review

The year 2022 is nearly in the rearview mirror, so now is a good time to take stock of where Oklahoma is as a state and where it is headed. This year offered several historic steps forward for the criminal legal system, while also highlighting opportunities for future reform. Advocates, lawmakers, and voters all worked to change how we treat […]

The Scary and Horrifying Injustices of the Criminal Legal System

Oklahoma’s criminal legal system is defined by many under-discussed and fairly horrifying facts . Like some horror movie character tiptoeing through the darkness we must first confront some terrifying historical truths about our State in order to change Oklahoma for the better. This October, we should be focused on turning these scary truths into reassuring facts that promote public confidence in […]

It’s Time to Hold Legislators Accountable

Seven years ago Oklahoma voters demanded greater public investment in local mental health and addiction treatment instead of incarceration. All these years later – the legislature still has not appropriated the funds as required. Instead, Oklahoma’s 77 counties  are drowning  as they take on the impossible task of confronting the mental health and substance abuse crisis without adequate resources. It’s […]

Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s 2023 Policy Agenda Reveal

Oklahoma is an outlier – both nationally and globally – when it comes to mass incarceration . Oklahoma has the third highest incarceration rate in the country while Oklahomans serve nearly double the sentence length of Kansans for common property crimes. Oklahoma has historically embraced the “tough on crime” approach, but this strategy has not made us any safer. The […]

It’s Time for Oklahoma to Care About Data Collection

How many Oklahomans are currently behind bars? How long have they been there, and on what charges? How many are detained pre-trial, without having been convicted of anything? The State of Oklahoma cannot answer any of these basic and fundamental questions because we are relying on data systems that are decades old. Oklahoma is being left behind in an increasingly […]

Previewing the Legislative’s Upcoming Interim Studies

Interim studies begin this month at the Oklahoma Capitol. These studies serve as a deep dive into specific policy issues that are presented to lawmakers while the state legislature is not in session. Interim studies offer a chance for legislators to learn more deeply about an issue that may have slipped through the cracks for one reason or another. This […]

Oklahoma 2022 Legislative Successes

As the legislative session draws to a close – it is important to take stock of the gains we made as a state. This session featured several monumental successes for criminal justice reform, and we are proud of the work achieved by criminal legal advocates of all stripes. In order to better understand the steps taken by the state, I […]

The Truth about Trials: Open File Discovery

The media’s portrayal of the criminal legal system in the United States, conjures up visions of impassioned closing arguments to an attentive jury box, and justice doled out by the peers of the accused. However, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics it is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of all criminal legal cases are resolved through the plea […]