Newsbrief: Sentencing Reform -- No in Oklahoma 6/6/03

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A bill that would have led to early release for some 800 Oklahoma prisoners, the majority of them drug offenders, and saved the state millions in its swollen corrections budget, failed on a 47-49 vote in the state House of Representatives May 30th. According to a report in the Daily Oklahoman, Rep. Ron Kirby (D-Lawton) "threw the bill on his desk in disgust after the vote."

The bill, SB 803, would have allowed nonviolent offenders who were nearing a non-supervised release date to leave prison early under electronic monitoring. Even that was too much for opponents, who argued the bill would turn loose people Oklahomans didn't want around. "This is the gambling with prisoners system," warned Rep. Mike Wilt (R-Bartlesville), apparently oblivious to the fact that the prisoners in question will be walking around free in a matter of weeks or months anyway.

"Give this bill a chance to work," Kirby pleaded with his colleagues. Not this year, not in Oklahoma, even though a state sentencing commission had recommended a variety of sentencing reforms, notably reducing drug sentences, in an effort to stanch the flow of dollars into the state's $400 million a year prison system (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/275.html#oklahomareport).

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Issue #290, 6/6/03 Editorial: Courage and Perseverance | Thousands Rally in NYC to Demand Repeal of Rockefeller Drug Laws | Medical Marijuana Cultivator Rosenthal Sentenced to One Day, Plus Probation | DEA Uses RAVE Act Threats to Block Montana NORML/SSDP Benefit | Dems on Drugs: The Presidential Contenders and Their Drug Policies | In a Strong Reversal, Congress Prohibits Drug Czar from Running Ads Against Ballot Measures and Candidates | Newsbrief: Texas Governor Signs Bill Freeing Tulia 14 | Newsbrief: Sentencing Reform -- No in Oklahoma | Newsbrief: Sentencing Reform -- Yes in Missouri | Newsbrief: Feds Reject MPP Complaint Against Drug Czar | Newsbrief: The Next Prohibition? Surgeon General Supports Banning Tobacco | Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Now in Effect | Newsbrief: DEA Can't Kidnap People in Other Countries, Federal Court Rules | The Reformer's Calendar

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