Three local sheriffs are speaking out against State Question 805, arguing that passing it will benefit repeat criminals.
State Question 805 says when sentencing a non-violent offender, their past convictions could not be considered. All three sheriffs said 805 will be a walk for career criminals and terrible for victims.
"If you don't rob a bank or kill somebody, your chance to go to the penitentiary on a first, second offense, sometimes third offense, is almost non-existent,” said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.
Sheriff Walton and Haskell County Sheriff Tim Turner are both strongly against State Question 805, saying it will only reward criminals. They both said 805 will take away their power as law enforcement to protect people.
They said, if 805 passes, when a person is sentenced for a crime, it’ll be like they’re a first-time offender, even of they’ve committed dozens of crimes.
"Domestic violence is one of the nonviolent crimes. Domestic violence by strangulation, child abuse, things of those nature, are crimes listen in 805, that are crimes that are non-violent,” said Sheriff Turner.
In addition to domestic violence, second degree rape, assault and battery with a weapon, cruelty to animals, assault on a police officer, DUI, second degree manslaughter and many other charges are listed as non-violent crimes in Oklahoma.
"It's year four and five where you wake up and say I just had my house broken into for the fifth time by the same guy, and he's not going to jail? It's a first-time offense? Punishable by a fine?” Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado said. “Why isn't law enforcement doing their jobs? Why isn't the court sentencing these criminals that are victimizing us? We are going to point back to the day this passed.”
"How many DUI's did they have prior? When you take the priors out of sentencing enhancing, we've absolutely taken the teeth out of law enforcement,” said Sheriff Walton.
Supporters of 805 said Oklahoma wastes too much money putting non-violent criminals in prison.
"The more money we spend on non-violent low-level offenders, the less money we have to invest in education, mental health care, and treatment services. and issues that truly improve the quality of life in our state,” said Kris Steele, the Director Of Oklahomans For Criminal Justice Reform.
State Question 805 will be on the November 3 ballot. If 805 is passed, it would not just apply to new cases, but also for people who are already on prison.