Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oklahoma: Curb crime, empty prisons, reduce costs

Oklahoma has established a grant program to fund crime-reduction initiatives by local law enforcement agencies; requires at least nine months of post-release supervision of all felons, which should reduce the recidivism rate; establishes risk, mental health and substance abuse assessments and evaluations before convicted felons are sentenced; and develops intermediary revocation facilities for nonviolent offenders who violate drug court regulations or conditions of probation and parole, which should ease prison overcrowding and save money, reported the Oklahoman.

It's expected the program will save $170 million in the next decade and provide $40 million to law enforcement agencies over a 10-year period to help pay for technology, overtime and targeting strategies such as hot-spot policing that increases police presence in high-crime areas, which can help prevent and reduce crime. 

The bill is intended to address trends in the past decade that saw the state's prison population increase 15 percent while spending on prisons rose 41 percent, according to the Oklahoman. The violent crime rate during that time decreased by 4 percent.

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