Voting yes on State Question 762 is a positive move to return Oklahoma to the judicial system that we once had, when correcting inmates' behavior and restoring lives was the goal of prison time. As you prepare to vote Tuesday, ask yourself why Oklahoma has the world's highest incarceration rate for women and the third-highest rate in the nation for men.
Could it be that we've been brainwashed by political slogans such as “tough on crime” and statements such as “Don't open the prison doors”? Do these sentiments take precedence and overshadow the biblical teaching of forgiveness and restoring lives? Could the rise in the number of inmates over the past 20 years be driven by profit? Have we entered a period when making money with private prisons and providing employment for incarceration workers takes precedence over restoring lives?
In answering these questions, keep in mind that as the expense has gone up for housing and feeding the increasing prison population, the money available for drug and alcohol abuse treatment or job training has gone down. Punishment, warehousing of inmates and prison for profit are steadily replacing forgiveness, drug treatment and restoring peoples' lives.
A yes vote on SQ 762 will help turn the corner and move from a mindset of “the more punishment the better” to “let's restore lives.”
John Fletcher, Norman
SQ 762 would remove the governor's office from the pardon and parole process except for violent offenders.