Representative J.J. Humphrey introduced a comprehensive proposal aimed at reforming Oklahoma’s criminal justice system during a gathering at the Capitol on Monday. The event brought together judges, district attorneys, law enforcement agencies, lawmakers, and other stakeholders to discuss the proposed transformation.
Humphrey, a Republican representing Lane, asserted that the current Oklahoma criminal justice system is dysfunctional and stressed the importance of integrating all judicial systems. He highlighted the need for collaboration with tribal entities and emphasized the necessity of establishing a working system.
The lawmaker presented a multifaceted plan that encompasses modifications to drug courts, increased accountability for correctional facilities, and crime reduction measures. Humphrey also suggested altering the allocation of funds to enhance the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
He expressed concern that 52% of the state’s budget is directed towards education, which, in his opinion, should not be funded through the charges imposed on offenders. Instead, Humphrey proposed funding educational initiatives through different mechanisms while ensuring that the criminal justice system does not set individuals up for failure.
Among the key components of Humphrey’s proposal is the creation of an advanced GPS supervision system for individuals with misdemeanors. This system would be managed by an external party and aims to streamline the reintegration of offenders into the community.
Humphrey argued that this approach would alleviate the burden on parole officers, who are already overwhelmed with responsibilities. Additionally, he contended that it would reduce the inmate population and result in cost savings. According to his breakdown of costs, implementing the GPS system would amount to $6 per day for one inmate, significantly lower than the approximately $63 per day charged by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for inmate supervision.
Sheriff Jeremie Wilson of Jefferson County, who attended the presentation, expressed his support for Humphrey’s proposal. He emphasized the need for reform in the criminal justice system, particularly in rural communities, where the current system may not effectively serve citizens or counties.
Sheriff Wilson also advocated for a fairer distribution of funding generated from citations issued in rural areas, highlighting the importance of supporting local law enforcement agencies that are often the first point of contact with citizens.
Humphrey clarified that his proposal serves as a starting point and is open to modifications based on feedback from the criminal justice community. He intends to continue engaging with district attorneys, judges, lawmakers, and law enforcement professionals across the state to refine and advance his plans for reforming Oklahoma’s criminal justice system.