A prison reform bill headed to the Oklahoma Senate isn’t quite what House Speaker Kris Steele envisioned, but passage would represent progress nonetheless. A Senate committee this week approved Steele’s House Bill 3052 after removing a section that would have let inmates who must serve 85 percent of their sentence begin earning good-time credits when they arrive in prison. Presently, those credits can’t be earned until the inmate has served 85 percent of the sentence. The provision would have saved money and freed up prison beds, and its removal was unfortunate. However the rest of the bill is intact, and if approved it will result in an improved public safety network for Oklahoma. The full Senate shouldn’t delay in giving its OK.
Left: A guard tower at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman