The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Opinion

March 19, 2013

Prisons will likely get shorted again

NORMAN — Don’t look for much relief this legislative session for the state’s bloated prison population. Lawmakers expect to have some new revenue this year but many expect common schools to get first crack at the cash.

Efforts to make a long-term dent in the state’s prison numbers have slowed now that the chief proponent Kris Steele is no longer Speaker of the House. Mr. Steele, who was a reasonable voice for prison reform, and others resigned from the group that was working to implement the Justice Reinvestment Initiative passed in 2012.

They blamed the governor’s office for slow-playing the legislation that she signed after the past session. The biggest part of the initiative is drug and alcohol treatment to defer defendants from prison. It also calls for better supervision of all inmates who are leaving prison in order to reduce the recidivism rate and a change in the way minor parole violators are punished.

The Tulsa World quotes longtime Corrections Department watchers as saying the state locks up too many people for too long. Lawmakers don’t want to appear soft on crime and continually add to the list of crimes where defendants have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.

Additionally, prison staffing has reached critical levels. A proposal to raise the salary of all state prison workers five percent was tabled. It would have boosted the starting pay from $11.83 to $14 per hour.

 

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Dancing forward

    The official motto for Mike Fowler’s chairmanship of the Norman Chamber of Commerce is “Moving Norman Forward.” But after Thursday night’s annual banquet, the sub-theme should be, “Let’s Dance, Norman.” More than 500 chamber members and ...

    April 19, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • Local control or not?

    Oklahoma lawmakers are a fickle bunch when it comes to issues of local control. Sometimes they want it and other times they do not....

    April 19, 2014

  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • 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

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    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