In response to the announcement that the number of people in Oklahoma’s corrections system has reached an all time high of over 63,000, the ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statement:
The following statement is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director:
“It is unacceptable, though unsurprising, that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections continues to set new records on the number of humans suffering under our current system. Oklahoma’s criminal justice system is an unsustainable, indisputable human rights catastrophe. As more and more Oklahomans are consumed by our political leaders’ insatiable appetite for mass incarceration, we move further from safety and justice and closer to reaching the now inevitable distinction of becoming the world’s largest jailer.
Despite major reform efforts over the last several years, including the adoption of State Questions 780 & 781, it is clear that without immediate, bold reforms our mass incarceration machine will continue its path of destruction.
There has long existed a moral imperative to challenge this system–one that ruins lives, negatively impacts an already precarious budget crisis, and fails its purported purpose of making our communities safer. Today’s news further demonstrates that reforming the system is no longer merely urgent, but now constitutes an undeniable emergency.”