The Norman Transcript

Editorials

January 22, 2014

Justice initiative a challenge for director

NORMAN — The state Board of Corrections’ hiring of Robert C. Patton to head the beleaguered state prison system this past week comes as the provisions of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative are being debated.

That law, which was passed in the 2012 legislative session, called for more “intermediate revocation facilities” and additional pardon and parole officers to supervise those leaving custody. In theory, those measures and others would decrease prison overcrowding by reducing recidivism.

Neither has been funded, leaving some questioning how much force legislative action can hold. Former House Speaker Kris Steele was the driving force behind the legislation. Steele, a minister, was term-limited out of the House and now works in the world of prisoner rehabilitation.

Earlier this month, separate investigations by Oklahoma Watch and a consortium of two state newspapers and The Associated Press pointed out roadblocks to implementing the legislation.

Gov. Mary Fallin told The Tulsa World that she signed and still supports the initiative but wants the new director to review the legislation. We suspect and hope Mr. Patton was familiar with the reforms before he accepted the job.

The governor and former prisons director Justin Jones were at odds over the state’s use of private prisons to handle overcrowding. Fallin and some lawmakers have been critical of Jones’ tenure at DOC, saying many of the agency’s problems were management issues.

In the meantime, the state continues to back up county jails with sentenced prisoners waiting bedspace at state prisons or to be contracted to private facilities.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Protect your home from wildfires

    To most people, fuel is what you put into your gas tank. To firefighters, it means something altogether different. To people who make a living putting out fires, fuel is that material that feeds wildfires — and there is an abundance of it ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Let’s toast: Main Street bridge nearly complete

    It was January 2013 when crews began knocking down the Main Street bridge over Interstate 35. The timeline on completion has always been this May. If everything comes together and the weather holds for the next few days, the overpass and ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Yes to Capitol and museum

    Two major spending bills have emerged from the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee headed by Norman Rep. Scott Martin. Both are up for passage in the full House of Representatives. We believe both deserve passage....

    April 11, 2014

  • Assistance needed

    The planned reopening of the Canadian River bridge connecting Purcell and Lexington is still more than two months away. Some of the businesses that depended on cross-bridge trade may not make it that long....

    April 11, 2014

  • Voters need speak up

    As candidates gear up to get their names on the ballot this year, it also may be time for voters to take some initiative, too....

    April 9, 2014