“The focus of Justice Reinvestment is to put the dollars saved into areas that would improve public safety,” she said.
“The experts estimate we could save up to $40 million in corrections costs over the next ten years that could then be redirected to promote a safer Oklahoma,” Sharp said. “Under the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Oklahoma, we are directing the Department of Corrections to supervise prisoners for nine months following release. However, we do not have money to pay for that supervision.”
But Mashburn said when district attorneys agreed to the Justice Reinvestment Program, funding was assured.
“Now everyone has to be supervised for at least nine months,” Mashburn said. “There won’t be people flat timing anymore for discharging with earned credits. When we sat down at the table, they said ‘there is money there... we promise we’ll get the (Justice Reinvestment) program funded.”
Mashburn said he is frustrated with the move to open prison doors.
Overcrowding is not the heart of the issue because private companies would come in and build more prisons if that is needed, he said.
“It is absolutely not true that the reasoning is to monitor people better and save money,” Mashburn said. “If that is their true, ultimate goal, we have made other suggestions that would make that possible and they have declined to initiate any of them.
“They just want people out of prison, period,” he said. “That is the liberal think tanks who don’t want any accountability for people who commit crimes.”
The League of Women Voters disagrees. The League supports this legislation.
“The State of Oklahoma will join all other states in the nation by removing the governor from the parole process for non-violent offenders,” the League said in its position statement. “It will reduce costs by eliminating delays and will reduce the strain on the parole system by making the early parole process for non-violent offenders more effective and efficient.”