OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma task force is recommending a reduction in criminal penalties for nonviolent drug offenders, a parole option for elderly inmates and allowing some prisoners a chance to expunge their records after going a period of time without new convictions.
Gov. Mary Fallin’s office released the recommendations from the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force on Thursday.
With Oklahoma facing the second-highest imprisonment rate in the country, and the highest rate for women, Fallin ordered a review of the criminal justice system in August.
The 39-page report projected the recommendations would reduce Oklahoma’s prison population by nearly 9,300 beds and avoid the roughly $1.9 billion in costs it would take to build and operate more prisons.
Fallin has said that without any action, the prison population could balloon by 25 percent.