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Group seeks to reduce Oklahoma's high incarceration rate

Posted: 6:15 AM, Apr 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-17 07:16:00-04
Kevin Stitt new photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A coalition of business and faith leaders is pushing a package of bills aimed at lowering Oklahoma's highest-in-the-nation prison incarceration rate.

Led by former Republican House Speaker Kris Steele, the group called on the Legislature Tuesday to pass the package of bills aimed at stopping Oklahoma's skyrocketing prison population.

The bills would reduce criminal penalties for several nonviolent crimes and retroactively apply a state question approved by voters in 2016 that made drug possession a misdemeanor. Other bills would overhaul the state's bail system and reduce the likelihood of imprisonment for technical probation or parole violations.

Oklahoma's new Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt has said reducing the state's prison population is a top priority, but many of the proposals are facing opposition from law enforcement and district attorneys.

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