Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Rep. Humphrey holds study to explore restructure of criminal justice system

Humphrey Studies Solution to Criminal Justice Reform

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane) today detailed his plan to dramatically reduce the incarceration rate in Oklahoma and to create a new parole system.

Humphrey’s interim study, Restructuring the Oklahoma Criminal Justice System, was held before the House Public Safety Committee, which he chairs.

“This plan would provide increased supervision and improve outcomes for those released from our corrections’ facilities,” Humphrey said. “It would save the state millions of dollars that could be reinvested into state employees and state facilities. The second phase of this plan would radically change community corrections with a system modeled after the successful system Texas has put in place.”

Under this plan, inmates serving time for non-violent offenses or who do not have sex offenses would be released with a GPS monitor for which the offender would pay. Monitoring would be contracted through a private company, which would share data between law enforcement agencies and the courts. If the offender were to reoffend, they immediately would be remanded back to prison, but the hope is the savings experienced would be invested to help the offender get needed drug rehabilitation or mental health help, as well as education and skills they might need to join the workforce. The plan also would cap all court costs, fines and fees at $130 per sentence.

Humphrey said the new system would free prison beds for truly violent offenders and would provide millions of dollars to help those released as an effect of State Question 780, which was passed by voters in 2016 and reclassified simple drug possession and property crimes valued at less than $1,000 as misdemeanors instead of felonies. House Bill 1269, which took effect Nov. 1, made the changes retroactive to those previously sentenced. On Monday, more than 450 prisoners were released as a result of the legislation.

“This also focuses money back into our counties, our sheriffs and to our probation and parole officers,” Humphrey said. “Releasing people without quality supervision is not the answer.”

The plan would incorporate evidence-based practice principles with real, progressive discipline policies and real sanctions, Humphrey said. This could all be done without asking any more money from the Legislature and would actually result in savings that could be reinvested in officer pay and training as well as into the state’s crumbling prison system, he said.

“This will provide true alternatives to incarceration and incorporate a state-of-the-art computer system, which reports statistical data that will be used to predict and respond to trends and behaviors, keeping us ahead of the curve when it comes to addressing criminal behavior not continuously trying to catch up,” Humphrey said.

The plan also would help reduce the amount of cases currently assigned to probation officers who would be reassigned from community corrections to answer directly to prisons.

Humphrey said he’s discussed this plan with new leadership at the Department of Corrections and the Board of Corrections. He’s considering suggesting a pilot program for the state.

Speakers at today’s interim study were Officer Ray Aldridge with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 147, Cleveland County Sherriff Todd Gipson, Kyle Foster with FosTech Solutions Inc., and Andrew Speno, Oklahoma state director of Right On Crime.


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