Oklahoma revamps justice system.
Despite resistance by sheriffs and district attorneys, Oklahoma Oklahoma (ōkləhō`mə), state in SW United States. It is bordered by Missouri and Arkansas (E); Texas, partially across the Red R. (S, W); New Mexico, across the narrow edge of the Oklahoma Panhandle (W); and Colorado and Kansas (N). passed a sweeping reform of its state correctional system in April, signaling the beginning of a truth-in-sentencing law, expansion of community corrections and an end to early release programs. The package also authorizes spending for space for 2,100 more prisoners.
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it's be ~have the most important criminal justice reform act in the history of our state," says Senator Calvin Hobson. He says the complexity of the issues and the breadth of the overhaul made it difficult work for the bipartisan committee that drew up the package. "It was the hardest conference I've ever been involved with in the 19 years I've been in the Legislature."
He admitted there was some resistance by law enforcement and lawyers because "they don't like change."
"But now we have the sheriffs' association working with us and many district attorneys," he added. "When it's in place, we'll all be pulling in the same direction."
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Police officers and other law enforcement officers are authorized by federal, state, and local lawmakers to arrest and confine persons suspected of crimes. The judicial system is authorized to confine persons convicted of crimes. space for repeat, violent offenders and a strong community program for nonviolent offenders," Hobson points out. "We just couldn't throw hundreds of millions of dollars at the Department of Corrections. It would have bankrupted the state."
The truth-in-sentencing provision requires all inmates convicted of violent crimes after July 1, 1998, as well as repeat offenders, to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. Juries may no longer impose sentences, except in first-degree murder cases for which death or life in prison without parole parole (pərōl`), in criminal law, release from prison of a convict before the expiration of his term on condition that his activities be restricted and that he report regularly to an officer. are the penalties. Judges would set sentences for all other crimes.
The package also establishes community sentencing advisory committees to draw up programs and enter into agreements with the Department of Corrections. Community sentencing is designed to reduce costs by providing alternatives to imprisonment Alternatives to imprisonment might be understood on several levels:
One way to sketch the range of alternatives people have developed for responding to violence is to divide it by shorter-term and longer-term strategies. for people convicted of some nonviolent crimes.
It also gives judges flexibility and a wide range of alternatives, such as jail time, restitution In the context of Criminal Law, state programs under which an offender is required, as a condition of his or her sentence, to repay money or donate services to the victim or society; with respect to maritime law, the restoration of articles lost by jettison, done when the , electronic monitoring, house arrest, and mandatory drug and alcohol counseling. Programs could range from drug treatment to job training.
"This essentially makes Oklahoma a state that no longer recognizes the concept of parole," said Senate President Pro Tern Stratton Taylor.
A 12-member, bipartisan House-Senate committee worked on the issue for seven weeks before its introduction and passage by the Legislature. The proposal will cost an estimated $429 million over 10 years, according to according to
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3. state officials.