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ODOC public safety forum brings out ideas to improve criminal justice

Friday, January 24, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Legislators, law enforcers, judges, non profits and advocates. Nearly 200 criminal justice stakeholders from across Oklahoma, came together for the annual ODOC Public Safety Forum.  State Senator Roger Thompson said, “We need to have a good, diverse, open conversation about criminal justice.”  

Governor Kevin Stitt believes working together is the key to chancing the culture.  Stitt said, “We all want the same thing. We all want Oklahoma to be the very, very best, the very safest place. But also, certain people, giving them second chances.”  

State figures highlight a recent reduction in arrests, criminal filings and inmate population. And many agree -- diversionary programs for mental health and drug addiction are paramount to reform. Attorney General Mike Hunter said, “It is the position of me and my office that addiction is a brain disease. It’s not a sin.  To the extent we can provide alternatives, to the extent we can provide treatments for people who struggle with addiction, we need to do that.”  

In criminal justice, there must be an authentic collaboration regardless of differing opinions to make the state’s justice system more just for all Oklahomans. Senator Rogers said, “Here, it’s all Kumbaya. But I guarantee you when they come in privately they can care less what the other agencies are getting as long as theirs is funded. That’s very problematic.  We need to do better.  Get a plan together, what’s it going to cost and then let’s work the plan.” 

Insightful presentations and passionate discussions – there is real hope that in-depth collaboration among state and business leaders, agencies and community partners will continue in the best interest of protecting Oklahomans.  According to Governor Stitt, “We must strive to make Oklahoma the best place, the safety place to raise a family, and I believe we can move the needle together. I believe we will be and can be a top 10 state.”  

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