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Voters to decide on State Question 805, reduced prison sentences for 'nonviolent' offenders

Posted at 9:54 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 15:31:39-04

TULSA, Okla. — Criminal justice reform is on the Nov. 3 ballot for Oklahoma voters in State Question 805.

If passed, 805 reduces the amount of time some prisoners spend behind bars.

“State Question 805 would ultimately limit the practice of adding years to a person’s prison sentence for a nonviolent offense simply because they have a prior nonviolent conviction somewhere in their past,” said Kris Steele, director of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform.

Steele urges 805 is not a free pass.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler thinks the proposition is not good for Oklahoma.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Kunzweiler said. “It runs contrary to what I think society ordinarily would expect: that we would hold repeat offenders accountable.”

Linda Steffen is one of those repeat offenders. She spent 12 years in prison over three different convictions for drugs. Steffen hopes 805 passes for people who need access to resources like she did.

“This is a land of the free but it sure doesn’t feel free when you’re not forgiven. I’m never forgiven,” Steffen said.

A sergeant with the Bartlesville Police Department released a statement that they stand with the Oklahoma Association of Police Chiefs on State Question 805; and the proposal does not protect citizens.

Officers with the Tulsa Police Department have not released the department’s stance on State Question 805, but said they will release one soon.

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