History of Legislation
Governor Fallin signed HB 2479, a bill that repealed mandatory minimum sentences for first-and second drug possession offenses, and reduced the maximum sentences for those crimes. This was a big step forward for smarter sentencing in Oklahoma.
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) reduced 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.
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 31, 2017
Originally published 5/25/17 at The Oklahoman Gov. Mary Fallin called out a House committee chairman for bottling up criminal justice reform bills Thursday as time ticked down on efforts to enact meaningful reforms. The plea accomplished little. Chairman Scott Biggs called a brief meeting of his House conference committee Thursday evening where House authors of… Read more »
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 »