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Alterantive Sentencing and Community Sentencing Proving Successful In Oklahoma

3400 Martin Luther King Avenue ♦ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73111 ♦
Phone: (405) 425-2513 ♦ FAX: (405) 425-2502


For immediate release Contact: Jerry Massie

August 22, 2007 (405) 425-2520

Community Sentencing Program Proving Successful

According to the Oklahoma Community Sentencing Act Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2006, 88% of participating offenders who successfully completed the program prior to July 1, 2003, remained in the community as of June 30, 2006. Only 12% had been received as an inmate of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Recidivism studies in corrections most often identify as a recidivist, an offender who is incarcerated within three years of his release from probation supervision or from prison. Of the 10,355 offenders who have received a community sentence since the program began in March, 2000, 21% failed and were sent to prison.

The average cost for fiscal year 2006, per offender was $1,711.00. There were 36 funded community sentencing councils encompassing 61 participating counties. The success rate, one of the best for diversion programs in Oklahoma, demonstrates that Community Sentencing is a proven investment in public safety.

Oklahoma Prisons at 98% capacity according to Director Justin Jones, see article below (emphasis added):

Seeking solutions to Oklahoma's prison problems

August -- 2007
This AP article (see ) from Oklahoma provides more details on Oklahoma's prison overcrowding problems (basics here) .

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Justin Jones recently said inmate overcrowding had hit 98 percent capacity and is probably at the most critical point in three decades because of a lack of options to deal with the problem. He said his only alternative soon will be to back up state inmates in county jails. Henry said it was premature to consider a special session of the Legislature on the issue, while praising the timing of an Associated Press series of articles on overcrowding and prison problems. "If we don't do something, we will hit that brick wall," he said.

Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, has opposed prison expansion, while suggesting more utilization of private prisons. Henry said he agreed with Jones that the state should not become too dependent on private prisons and recommends more prison alternative programs.

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