Governor Mary Fallin pushing for criminal justice reform to better the lives of families

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The students of the Little Light Christian School aren't afraid to lift their voices and sing.

They understand that a voice is a powerful tool.

They are using their voices to say they will become better people than their parents will.

Their parents are in prison and statistics show the cards are stacked against them.

“We know that statistics show at least one in 10 children in our state could have a parent in custody,” said Governor Mary Fallin.

The school specializes in providing adequate care in meeting their needs. However, Governor Fallin says more needs to be done to help the kids.

“If we can pass legislation that's been proposed this legislative session, then we will be able to divert about 25% of our prison population growth," she said.

She is asking lawmakers to pass 12 criminal justice reform bills.

Fallin says Oklahoma sends more nonviolent offenders to prison and for longer stays.

The legislation offers treatment over incarceration and reduces the penalties for crimes like burglary and property crimes.

“We also need to make sure that our criminal justice system protects the families in our communities using incarceration wisely, so families are strengthened and not separated,” said Director. John Scully.

The Governor said if there isn't action on the issue this could end up costing tax payers.

“It's projected it's going to cost the state of Oklahoma about $2 billion extra dollars and that we may need to build up to three new prisons in our state,” she said.

If passed, this legislation would save more than eight thousand prison beds and reduce the prison by population by 3% by 2026.

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