Share “‘People in prison need people'”

By Jennifer Mock Published: May 23, 2007
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/> Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City, said he supports churches getting involved in prison ministries. But they should pay for those programs with their own money, not public funds, he said.

The legislation forms a council to review state re-entry policies and a task force to seek out programs that have potential to reduce the number of criminal reoffenders in Oklahoma.

Oversight over the Corrections Department and its programs is the job of the Legislature, not an appointed council or task force, said Rep. Richard Morrissette. The bill creates more government and bureaucracy, he said.

"I'm not against the goals of this bill,” said Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. "But you are crossing the line (constitutionally).”

The bill, which was part of the Republican agenda this year, passed the House with a vote of 93-4 and returns to the Senate. Lawmakers have until Friday to send legislation to the governor to become law.

ON NEWSOK.COM: Is it appropriate for the state to give funds to faith-based groups for this purpose? Tell us what you think.

"I'm not against the goals of this bill. But you are crossing the line (constitutionally).”

Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City

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House Bill 2101 would ...
•Create a Re-entry Policy Council, which will provide oversight of the re-entry policies and programs at the Corrections Department.

•Create the Transformational Justice Interagency Task Force, which will establish goals for reducing Oklahoma's recidivism rate.

•Encourage parenting classes before releasing inmates with children.

•Ensure state prisons establish partnerships with faith-based and community groups to provide services.

•Coordinate programs to help inmates find jobs, housing, substance abuse treatment, medical care and mental health services after release.

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