Senate Study to Examine Use of Community/Minority Impact Statements for Proposed Bills and Incarceration Rates

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – A Senate interim study will examine the use of impact statements in determining the effect of proposed legislation on particular communities and minorities. State Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City-48, requested the study, which will be held on Monday, October 7 at 10 a.m. in room 535 of the Capitol.

A 2016 report by an organization called The Sentencing Project ranked Oklahoma as having the highest overall black incarceration rate, with 1 in 15 black males ages 18 and older in prison.  That same report broke down the incarceration rates per 100,000 for both males and females by race within each state.  In Oklahoma, the rate was 580 for whites compared to 2625 for blacks.

“I believe there are many factors that have resulted in this disparity, including laws at the state and federal levels that have disproportionately impacted minorities.  As we consider additional criminal justice reform to reduce Oklahoma’s overall incarceration rates, I believe this is an aspect that merits examination in terms of the devastating toll these disparities take on families, communities and our entire state,” Young said. 

The study will include presentations from Richard Smothermon with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Kris Steele with The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM), Damion Shade from the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

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