Crime Victim Speaks Out On Truth In Sentencing

Tuesday, July 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa victims' rights advocate says the truth in sentencing proposal is a bad bill that should be re-written. Delma Houghton is fighting for changes. Houghton plans to fight for crime victims, the rest of her life. "These are all his things, there he is running in Michigan," says Houghton. The memories of Delma Houghton's son Michael, are alive and well throughout her house. But 12 years ago, Michael was killed at the young age of 27. His murderers robbed him at gunpoint, kidnapped him, locked him in a car trunk, then set the car on fire. "The reason I do what I do is really for my Michael. But it is for everybody. I don't want any other family to go through what we had to go through," says Houghton. Houghton has become a nationwide leader of victims' rights. She says Oklahoma's truth in sentencing bill emphasizes community service and rehabilitation programs too much. "DUI was like 9 convictions before they served any time in jail. There were even some child abuse things that were bad. So it really was a bad bill, " says Houghton. Houghton says violent crime is going down in Oklahoma because lawmakers have added more prison space. She believes crime will keep dropping if we keep the violent, repeat lawbreakers behind bars longer. "If we kept them in 85% of their time, could you imagine what that would do to our streets because a few of our criminals commit all the crime," says Houghton. So she says it's worth the money to lock criminals up before more mothers lose their children to violence. Legislators will address the truth in sentencing issue in a special week long session that begins June 14.