Oklahoma's justice reinvestment law no good without adequate funding

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: February 15, 2013
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DOC Director Justin Jones said the justice reinvestment bill isn't addressed in the proposed budget. He sought $3 million to hire additional probation and parole officers needed to handle the mandatory supervision portion of the law. He also asked for about half a million dollars to provide substance abuse treatment through the intermediate revocation centers.

Fallin requested that the state mental health agency get an additional $16 million next year, so perhaps some of that money could go toward Jones' cause. But the law says the DOC bears the responsibility for providing that treatment.

Steele, who was term limited in 2012, said if the governor and Legislature don't plan to fund the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, then the law should be repealed. Jones shared similar sentiments during a meeting this week with The Oklahoman's editorial board. “Let's just be honest about it and say, ‘You know what? We just don't want to put the money there,'” Jones said.

He and Steele are right. Better to pull the plug than to pretend there's an interest at NE 23 and Lincoln in dealing with corrections any differently than we ever have.

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