NORMAN — Editor, the Transcript:
Today, Oklahomans have an opportunity to show they are smart, sensible and recognize savings. State Question 762, removing the governor from the pardon and parole process for nonviolent offenders, is receiving a lot of attention. My hope is Oklahomans will pay attention and vote in favor of SQ 762. It makes sense. Oklahomans say they want public safety, to eliminate unnecessary spending, and effective, efficient government. SQ 762 allows these to happen.
The Oklahoma Academy believes that passage of SQ 762 is not only a smart step, it is the right step to take at this time. In 2000, the academy addressed five areas of the Oklahoma Constitution in its annual conference, and one of the major recommendations developed from that endeavor was to remove the governor from the pardon and parole process for nonviolent offenders.
In personally visiting with the governor at that time and former governors, I heard from each that it was a sound recommendation, would save time and dollars, and would provide more time in dealing with pardon and parole responsibilities for heinous crimes, as well as more time for other pressing issues.
In 2008, the Oklahoma Academy Town Hall conference, titled “Can We Be Just as Tough, But Twice As Smart,” focused specifically on improving the criminal justice system, improving public safety and saving dollars. The Town Hall participants resurrected again the recommendation to remove the governor from the pardon and parole process for nonviolent offenders. Why?
Because (1.) it improves public safety by giving the governor the proper time to review those convicted of violent, heinous crimes, (2.) more of the governor’s time is devoted to more pressing public issues in Oklahoma and (3.) nonviolent offenders sitting in prison waiting for the governor to drop other important tasks to approve their parole costs taxpayers millions of dollars.
The Oklahoma Academy agrees with Gov. Mary Fallin that Oklahoma has a need to address its criminal justice and corrections system. We agree and we have recommended that the Pardon and Parole Board needs to be examined and improved. We have recommended that a full-time Pardon and Parole Board be created. Passage of SQ 762 is an important step, a sound step and a safe step. We look forward to working with Gov. Fallin to implement additional reforms following passage of SQ 762.
The Oklahoma Academy urges you to vote yes on SQ 762. Let’s be smart, sensible, safe and save.
Please vote, and vote “yes” on SQ 762.
President and CEO, the Oklahoma Academy