OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma should overhaul its criminal code and change its bail and pre-trial detention programs to help address its high incarceration rate, a governor’s task force recommended on Friday.
The Reentry, Supervision, Treatment and Opportunity Reform, or RESTORE, Task Force submitted its final report to Gov. Kevin Stitt ahead of the 2020 legislative session. Other recommendations include creation of a “chief culture officer” at the Department of Corrections to focus on re-entry and education initiatives and expansion of pilot programs focused on connecting individuals with mental health treatment.
“We must continue to focus on cultural change in the prisons, where state government is viewing an inmate as a person, and creating a plan to ensure they return as productive and contributing member of our society,” Stitt said in a statement.
The first-term governor has made reducing the state’s high incarceration rate one of his top legislative priorities. A bill he signed last year led to the mass commutation of more than 450 inmates on a single day, which state officials said is the largest single-day release of inmates in U.S. history.