In the lead up to the March 1 committee deadline, the Oklahoma Legislature has not considered any of the many meaningful criminal justice reform measures authored this session. The ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statement:
The following statement is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director:
“The governor, legislative leadership, and members of both parties have repeatedly declared this to be the session for criminal justice reform, but as we near next week’s committee deadline it is becoming more difficult to believe that those claims are anything more than political posturing. Legislative leaders appear prepared to waste this opportunity to fix a system that is destroying the lives of thousands of Oklahomans and bankrupting our state. The people of Oklahoma need more than empty words. Legislation aimed at responsible reform is on the table, but time is running out. If this is to be the session for criminal justice reform, it is time for leadership to put forth an immediate and serious effort to match their talk with action.
We desperately hope the legislature proves us wrong, but after next week it may be that Oklahomans will have to resolve themselves to fixing our criminal justice system one ballot measure at a time. That is neither the best course or even remotely desirable, but it sadly may be the only option.”