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Posted: Apr 25, 2019 2:46 PMUpdated: Apr 25, 2019 3:31 PM

Bill to Reduce Incarceration Rates Returns to House

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Garrett Giles

The Senate approved legislation to reduce incarceration rates of repeat nonviolent offenders Thursday.

House Bill 2009, authored by Ponca City Senator Bill Coleman, will reduce the sentences of repeat nonviolent offender with no history of violent or sexual offenses.

Right now in Oklahoma, Coleman said offenders serve 70-percent longer for property crimes and 79-percent longer for drug crimes than the national average. He said excessive sentencing for repeat nonviolent offenders has caused Oklahoma to have the highest incarceration rates in the nation, which is extremely expensive for taxpayers and does nothing to help these individuals re-enter society as self-sufficient, productive citizens.

Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana have all reduced crime and incarceration rates at the same time. 

Sen. Coleman said he think it is time for Oklahoma to do the same.  He said Oklahoma should get the growing prison population under control and make Oklahoma more in line with the rest of the country on sentencing for nonviolent offenders.

It is estimated that House Bill 2009 could reduce Oklahoma's prison population by as much as 17-percent over ten years. That would provide cost savings to the Department of Corrections depending on how many individuals receive the reduced sentence.

According to the DOC, it costs an average of $21,425.50 per year to incarcerate an inmate. House Bill 2009 now returns to the House for final consideration.


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