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State questions for Oklahoma criminal justice reform heading to Supreme Court

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Oklahomans For Criminal Justice Reform signature drive

OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials say two state questions that deal with criminal justice reform are allowed to move forward.

State Question 780 would reclassify certain low-level offenses, such as drug possession and some property crimes, as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

State Question 781 would create an account with the money saved from having fewer offenders incarcerated. Those funds would then be used to operate programs to treat drug addiction and mental health issues.

In March, Oklahomans For Criminal Justice Reform began a signature drive to get the questions on the ballot.

Supporters of the measures said they will not only reduce the prison population but will also help low-level offenders turn their lives around for the better.

“Our correction system is broken – that all we are doing is throwing money away by warehousing and not getting these people the help that they need,” said former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry.

The group needed more than 65,000 signatures to get the measures to move forward.

On Friday, the secretary of state’s office announced that State Question 780 received 111,159 signatures and State Question 781 received 110,135 signatures.

The findings were sent to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who will now decide whether there are sufficient signatures to put the proposals on the ballot.