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January 6, 2008

Maybe accountants and consultants should make sentencing policy

This new AP story reports on a new report about Oklahoma's prison done by a consulting firm, which highlights and suggests solutions to problems facing many states.  Here are excerpts:

Oklahoma prisons are antiquated and the state’s prison system is underfunded, according to an exhaustive prison audit made public Friday that says policies requiring some felons to serve 85 percent of their sentences are causing Oklahoma’s prison population to surge.

The audit by MGT of America, Inc., recommends that the Legislature immediately appropriate more than $25 million for state prisons, including almost $14 million to secure 660 maximum-security cells at a private prison in Davis and more than $5 million to hire additional correctional and pardon and parole officers. It also recommends that the governor be removed from routine review of parole requests and that guidelines for diversionary drug courts be changed as part of a plan to cut about $18 million a year from the state’s $477 million prison budget....

The study predicts that Oklahoma’s inmate population will rise from about 25,000 currently to almost 29,000 by 2016. The state already has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the nation. “The increase in the prison population is being largely driven by a longer length of stay and not increased admissions, which are flat,” the audit states.

Since 1999, lawmakers have adopted sentencing policies that emphasize the so-called “deadly sins,” a list of 19 violent offenses that require those convicted of them to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence. The offenses include murder, rape and some forms of robbery, burglary, arson and child molestation. “Changes in the above policies would have a significant impact on the future size of the prison population,” the study says.

In addition, Oklahoma’s parole rates are significantly lower than other states, the audit says. Oklahoma is the only state in the nation in which the governor must sign off on every inmate parole request. It recommends that the governor be involved in the process only for certain heinous crimes similar to guidelines in Maryland and California, where governors play limited roles in the parole process involving inmates convicted of violent crimes or serving lengthy sentences. “Routine parole decisions should be the sole responsibility of the Pardon and Parole Board,” the report says.

January 6, 2008 at 08:02 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Accountants and consultants couldn't make more of a mess of sentencing policy than recent attempts by legislators and the judiciary, that's for sure.

Posted by: peter | Jan 6, 2008 8:16:42 AM

I feel the issue that you have raised is really a burning issue . i need more of the posts on this . please keep informing me with your new posts

Posted by: employment solicitor | Jan 6, 2008 9:27:22 PM

Awesome ..
like the way you write . this is really brilliant .
I hope you will keep informing me with your newer posts .
"happy new year"

Posted by: employment solicitor | Jan 6, 2008 9:58:41 PM

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