According to a new study, in 2012, 56 percent of Oklahoma inmates maxed out — served maximum sentences and were released from prison to no supervision whatsoever.
"I think everybody in Oklahoma would want an individual, if they have served their time and paid their debt, to be able to transition back into our neighborhoods as a productive, contributing member of society," said Kris Steele, the former Oklahoma Speaker of the House who authored the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a plan to reduce recidivism. "Without a proper level of supervision, that's almost impossible to have happen."
Oklahoma never fully implemented JRI because of funding and political reasons. Steele said the study's findings reflect the incomplete implementation of the initiative, which would have built nine months of supervision into sentencing structures.
"I think it's just because the state of Oklahoma rejected the funding that was offered to actually make sure that everybody was working together and understood," Steele said.
Oklahoma had the fourth-highest max-out rate in the Pew Charitable Trusts study behind Florida, Maine and North Carolina.