Business, civic coalition seeks to cut Oklahoma prison count

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A coalition of business and community leaders led by former state House Speaker Kris Steele is outlining a plan to reduce the state’s prison population by 5 percent over the next 10 years.

Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform will push to retroactively apply a state question approved by voters in 2016 to ease penalties for drug and low-level property crimes. Steele said that change alone would allow for the immediate release of about 1,100 inmates and sentence reductions for another 1,400.

Oklahoma’s new Gov. Kevin Stitt said earlier this week he supported the concept.

Other proposals would tighten the definition of possession of with intent to sell drugs and limit sentencing enhancement practices.

Many of the proposals are likely to be opposed by the state’s district attorneys.

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