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Revamping Oklahoma's sentencing guidelines

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- The Oklahoma Sentencing Commission is offering ways to revamp sentencing guidelines and slow the growth of the state's skyrocketing prison population.

The list of 33 recommendations released Thursday includes reducing sentencing ranges for drug possession.

It also says the state could reconsider punishment for making methamphetamine and emphasize community-based substance abuse programs instead of lengthy prison sentences for drug and alcohol abusers.

Commission co-chairman Representative Terry Ingmire says cost-cutting reforms can't jeopardize public safety.

Statistics produced by the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center show the state's rate of incarceration is the nation's 4th highest.

Drug and alcohol offenses are the leading causes of prison sentences, accounting for 44% of all receptions in 2001.
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