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Legislators meet to look at criminal record reform

Posted at 3:51 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 19:07:44-04

TULSA, Okla. — Starting at the age of 16, Dennis Reed spent 25 years of his life in prison.

After serving time for robbery and shooting with intent, Reed was pardoned by the governor last year.

"She specifically stated "I restore all Mr. Reed's rights as a citizen." So I'm thinking oh thank the lord that I reached this point. Everything that I worked so hard for, it's finally over with," he said.

The former prisoner says he was lucky to find work at Kirby Smith Machinery, but still he has felonies on his record.

Expunging a record can cost $5,000 or more. For those trying to take care of themselves and their family, it's a struggle to make those payments.

"I don't have money like that, I have other responsibilities. I'm gonna be a good father. I'm gonna take care of my babies and my wife before I go doing something like that," Reed said.

Reed is now a father of two and leads a prison ministry.

After hearing his story, State Senator Kevin Matthews formed a work group. They met on Thursday to talk about potential legislation to fix this problem going into next session.

"It is a shame that we have a state department called the State Department of Corrections and it looks like it's a department of punishment," Senator Matthews said.

Now Reed hopes to move past the identity of prisoner, while continuing efforts to help others still behind bars.

"I made a bad mistake and I paid for it. I paid dearly for it. Half of my teens, all of my 20s, all of my 30s. I was 41 coming out the door. What else could a man ask for?" he said.

The city will be holding an expunging expo at the 36th Street North Event Center on November 2nd.

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