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 […]

What would Clean Slate Legislation in Oklahoma look like?

Expungements, or the sealing or destroying of criminal convictions from state and federal records, is currently available in Oklahoma under a narrow set of circumstances. It is available to those who have been acquitted, those who have obtained a dismissal after reversal on appeal, those who have had factual innocence established by DNA, those who have had their misdemeanor or […]

7 Things to Look for this Legislative Session

The Oklahoma Legislative Session, in accordance with Article 5, Section 26, of the Oklahoma Constitution, begins at noon on the first Monday in February and ends during the last Friday in May. This means the 2022 legislative session begins on February 7, 2022, a mere few weeks ahead. These early days of session are crucial for a bill gaining momentum […]

How Poverty Drives Violent Crime

From 1975 to 1977 an experiment to test the effects of unconditional cash payments, sometimes termed as Universal Basic Income, was conducted in Manitoba, Canada. This study was especially important in determining the effects on crime rates because, unlike other studies of the sort, the entire town of Dauphin was given unconditional cash payments, creating a macro-level community data set. […]

Executive Clemency: A Core Conservative Value

By: Michael Olson Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel. Alexander Hamilton, […]

Wayward Cops & Excessive Force: Police Accountability in Oklahoma

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Department Officer and years filled with protests and calls for reform, many state legislatures, including those under Republican control such as North Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida, have passed legislation strengthening the power to decertify Police Officers engaging in misconduct, and provided mechanisms for sharing that information across […]