OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A group seeking to further reduce Oklahoma’s high prison incarceration rate announced Wednesday that its state question has qualified for the November ballot.
The “Yes on 805” campaign said Wednesday was the expiration of a 10-day window for final legal challenges to the petition.
If approved by voters, the proposal would bar prosecutors from using prior felony convictions to enhance sentences for nonviolent crimes. Supporters argue this practice often leads to excessive sentences for minor, nonviolent offenses. The proposal would also allow those who already had such sentence enhancements to petition the courts for relief.
“Our state is wasting money doling out sentences for nonviolent offenses that are out of proportion to the crimes,” said “Yes on 805” President Sarah Edwards.
Most district attorneys and Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt oppose the state question.
“Our state and our prosecutors have long been about giving folks second chances, but repeated violation of the public trust should not be tolerated,” the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association said in a statement. “In fact, this state question goes the wrong direction as studies prove past criminal activity is a strong predictor of future criminal behavior.”
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