This is an area others have preached about during the past several years, as Oklahoma's prison population has swollen. Nobody wants truly dangerous men and women to bypass prison or serve sentences that aren't in line with their crimes. But the state locks up an inordinate number of nonviolent offenders for long stretches, and many policymakers have been loath to entertain the idea of approaching corrections differently. This helps explain why, as recently as a few weeks ago, a Department of Corrections official said the inmate count is up again this year and the agency is running a $13 million deficit for the first eight months of the fiscal year.
The state is on the right track in many areas. Its No. 5 ranking in this freedom study is something to cheer. But corrections is one place where much work remains.