Oklahoma lawmaker has plan to reduce recidivism
(KTEN) — A southern Oklahoma lawmaker is looking to overhaul the state's criminal justice system when it comes to people who are addicted to drugs.
Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-District 19) has laid out a plan to fix what he sees as dysfunction in Oklahoma's justice system.
"The No. 1 thing we need to be looking at in any system: Did it reduce crime?" Humphrey asked. "If it doesn't reduce crime, then it's a failure."
The lawmaker said one source of dysfunction is a lack of communication across state agencies, including with tribal law enforcement.
He proposes a statewide criminal database to keep track of offenders, and already has a bill drafted for its creation.
"We've got to connect all of our law enforcement community — courts, police department, sheriff's departments — all of our state agencies," Humphrey said. "We've got to connect them together where we all talk."
Another focus of Humphrey's plan is preventing repeat substance abuse offenders. He proposes a system of graduated sanctions for drug crimes; if probation and fines are not enough, the offender will go to in-patient treatment.
"If you continue to do crime, we will send you on to the penitentiary, and that's what we need to do," Humphrey said. "But we've got to set up a program that actually makes it where these people can succeed."
Humphrey said he has worked on this plan for the better part of seven years, and says he is open to working with those in the justice system to improve it.