Oklahoma Group Offers Help To Keep Criminals Out Of Prison

An Oklahoma group is trying to figure out how to make sure people who do go to prison, only go one time. They want to provide those ex-prisoners with resources to help.

Thursday, September 17th 2015, 6:33 pm

By: News On 6

Oklahoma currently has more than 28,000 people in prison.

The big frustration is once many of those people get out they commit new crimes, which costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

One group, Community Connection, is trying to figure out how to make sure people who do go to prison, only go one time.

They want to help ex-prisoners get jobs, housing and become productive citizens.

Most don't know where to get that kind of help, so we see a revolving door of criminals.

Former Tulsa County District Attorney, Tim Harris said, "These people come out and we put a big red F of felon on their forehead and hang this albatross of felony conviction around their neck and say, go provide for your family, get a job, re-entry back into the community, it doesn't work that way."

He said the state is looking at changing sentencing laws for non-violent offenders who are behind bars for property and drug crimes to get them back on track.

Harris said, “Now for those people who are violent offenders – murderers, rapists, child molesters, armed robbers – I’m gonna put you in jail all day long and I want you to stay there because we’re afraid of you, we’re afraid of what you’re gonna do to us and the community. I’m not talking about those people, right. I’m talking about mainly property crimes, and drug crimes, people who have addictions.

"I’m not talking about dealers, I’m not talking about the cartels of the world, they need to be taken down and dealt with. But I’m talking about that citizen who has an addiction or has committed a property crime. Sooner or later, we have to figure out what got them there and give them some tool to make sure they don’t come back.”

Dozens of agencies help people ex-prisoners you can find a full list here.


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