History of Legislation
Governor Mary Fallin (R) signed into law an ALEC-style safety valve that was drafted narrowly to affect only lower-level drug offenders. She urged lawmakers to follow up on that reform by eliminating all state mandatory minimums for drug possession charges. FAMM strongly supported this proposal and reached out to lawmakers in the state. With support from both the House and Senate, a series of criminal justice reforms were sent to Governor Fallin.
HB 1574 (2015) reduces the sentence range for a third or subsequent conviction for felony drug sale, distribution, or manufacturing. Previously, such a conviction garnered a sentence of life without parole. The sentence range is now 20 years to life or life without parole. However, a sentence of life without parole is still mandated for those who have two or more previous convictions for drug trafficking.
Governor Fallin signed HB 2479, a bill that repeals mandatory minimum sentences for first-and second drug possession offenses, and reduces the maximum sentences for those crimes. This is a big step forward for smarter sentencing in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections Budget: $441.8 million
State Expenses: $453.4 million
Avg Annual Cost per inmate: $18,467
State Population: 3.878 million people
State Incarceration Population: 28,095 people
You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.
May 1, 2017
Gov. Mary Fallin has commuted the sentences of four more Oklahoma inmates serving life without parole for drug offenses, including William Dufries, a former Florida resident caught hauling 67 pounds of marijuana in a recreational vehicle. Fallin commuted the inmates’ sentences from life without parole to life, creating the potential for the four men one… Read more »
April 12, 2017
Via News 9 The Senate Public Safety Committee on Thursday passed four bills designed to reduce the state’s prison population. Back in November, voters sent lawmakers a message that they wanted real criminal justice reform. Voters passed two measures that reduce penalties for certain non-violent crimes. On Thursday, a senate committee passed four bills that… Read more »
March 14, 2017
Originally seen in Take Part In his first eight sessions as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Kris Steele paid scant attention to crime and punishment. But, in 2008, Steele’s work on the state budget put Oklahoma’s prison system in his sights for the first time. What he saw, he says, “puzzled and dismayed” him…. Read more »
March 7, 2017
Originally posted in Public Radio Tulsa. Work continues on criminal justice reform in Oklahoma with the approval of two measures by a House committee. House Bill 2281 from Rep. Terry O’Donnell raises the felony threshold and reduces the penalties on several property crimes, including using a stolen debit or credit card or receiving stolen property…. Read more »