OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Legislation passed by the Oklahoma Senate Thursday would give lawmakers the authority to name the director of a state agency that analyzes the criminal justice system and tracks state incarceration rates in what critics say is an attempt to politicize the agency.
The Senate voted 26-21 for the measure that Democratic Senator Richard Lerblance of Hartshorne, the chairman of the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission, says is a blatant attempt by its supporters to oust the executive director of the Oklahoma Criminal
Justice Resource Center, K.C. Moon.
Currently, the sentencing commission appoints the agency's executive director and sets the director's salary. The bill would transfer that authority to the president pro tem of the state Senate and the speaker of the House.
Analysis and statistics produced by the agency Moon heads has consistently showed that there is a growing gap between the number of prison beds funded by the Legislature and the number of actual prisoners.