NORMAN — Domestic violence offenders could spend more time in prison if a proposal by Sen. Rob Standridge is approved in the 2020 legislative session.
Standridge, R-Norman, talked about his ideas during a town hall meeting Monday at the Norman Public Library. About 40 people attended the event.
Standridge told audience members that an estimated 1 in 4 women in the United States experience domestic violence, and that there are 1.3 million domestic violence survivors nationally.
"This is an issue that tears families and communities apart," he said. "These numbers are real. This is a topic that has touched my heart."
The senator lamented that domestic violence crimes, particularly strangulation and attempted strangulation, do not carry the same punishments as other violent crimes. During his presentation, Standridge read a letter from a domestic violence victim who wrote about the injuries she received and the light punishment her ex-boyfriend was given.
"This is a woman who came close to being part of those statistics I mentioned," Standridge said.
Senate Bill 1103 increases the penalties associated with strangulation or attempted strangulation by removing the minimum sentence of one year behind bars and increasing the maximum prison term to 10 years in prison. The measure would also increase the maximum fine from $3,000 to $5,000.
SB 1103 would also remove the minimum sentence of three years for a person convicted a second time of strangulation and increase the maximum punishment from 10 to 20 years.
Oklahoma's criminal justice reform, which focuses on releasing non-violent offenders, and incarcerating domestic violence offenders for longer periods does not create conflict.
"The point is to put the right people in prison," Standridge said. "Criminal justice reform has done good for some people, but we don't want to let out people who are hurting others."
Standridge also plans to introduce SB 1105 which would add domestic assault and battery that results in great bodily injury to the list of 85% crimes, meaning a person convicted of that offense must serve 85% of the punishment before receiving consideration for parole.
SB1105 also would classify domestic assault and battery a violent crime. SB 1105 would also increase the punishment from a year in the county jail to 10 years in prison.