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criminal justice

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 30 people sit uncomfortably on hard, wooden benches under the watchful eyes of Judge Tim Henderson. It’s late morning in Henderson’s courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse. Some people have been waiting for hours.

Most of these people are on probation, and they’re anxiously waiting for their chance to make a deal. Judge Henderson says these people broke their plea agreements.

Every new male inmate in the Oklahoma prison system arrives through this gate at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Cleveland County. Blood is drawn from inmates for testing and certain results can lead to further tests for hepatitis C.
Oklahoma Watch

Inmates in Oklahoma prisons must have advanced liver disease before becoming eligible for treatment of hepatitis C, a potentially deadly and growing disease.

The situation in prisons pits the enormous cost of treatment against the public health gains of curing one of the populations most at risk for the viral infection.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin delivered her final State of the State address at the Oklahoma Capitol on Feb. 6, 2018.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

FULL TRANSCRIPT: 

Gov. Mary Fallin: Thank you very much. Lieutenant Gov. Lamb, statewide elected officials, Speaker [Charles] McCall, President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, members of the court, honorable senators and representatives, cabinet members, statewide elected officials, and our tribal leaders that have joined us here today, and most of all, the great citizens of Oklahoma – welcome. It’s good-- to have you all here.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP

A prosecutor who negotiated a plea deal for a man convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl has resigned.  

 

Murray County Assistant District Attorney David Pyle stepped down Wednesday afternoon, according to a release from the Carter County District Attorney’s office.

 

Storme Jones / KGOU

As Oklahoma lawmakers prepare for the start of the 2018 legislative session on Feb. 5, they’ll be met with the familiar issues of filling an estimated $425-million budget hole, giving teachers a pay raise, reducing prison overcrowding and maintaining the state’s infrastructure.

Storme Jones / KGOU

As Oklahoma lawmakers prepare for the start of the 2018 legislative session on Feb. 5, they’ll be met with the familiar issues of filling an estimated $425-million budget hole, giving teachers a pay raise, reducing prison overcrowding and maintaining the state’s infrastructure.

Former Republican Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Kris Steele says it’s time for lawmakers to put statesmanship over partisanship.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Twenty years is a long time to live with a drug addiction, but Rachel Wachel has done it. She tends bar, has a house and a car — and calls herself a functioning addict.

prison bars
mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma has one in eight inmates who are serving a life sentence or a sentence of at least 50 years, a new report using 2016 data shows.

Allison Herrera / KOSU

The number of people sentenced to Oklahoma prisons in 2017 fell slightly, but the state remains second in the nation in overall incarceration and could be ranked first by the end of this year.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections data shows that on the last working day of 2017, a total of 28,153 inmates were in state prisons, halfway houses or in jails awaiting transfer to prisons. That was a less than 1 percent decline from the end of 2016.

Reveal: A Revealing Year

Jan 1, 2018
In this episode, we look at some of our best reporting from 2017 and how Reveal has made an impact in our world.
Michael I Schiller / Reveal

In this episode, we look at some of our best reporting from 2017 and how Reveal has made an impact in our world.

Our stories covered a lot of ground this year – from the beaches of Bermuda to the politically charged streets of Berkeley, California. And many brought about big changes.

Reveal: Fire And Justice

Dec 26, 2017
In 1988, two powerful explosions shook Kansas City, Missouri, killing six firefighters. Nine years later, five people were convicted of arson and sent to prison for life – but were they innocent?
Gabriel Hongsdusit / Reveal

In 1988, six firefighters in Kansas City, Missouri, were killed in a blast at a highway construction site. Nine years later, five people were convicted of setting the fires that led to their deaths.

Now, almost 30 years later, Reveal investigates problems in the case. There was no physical evidence linking the five to the crime, and their convictions were based on witness testimony – a lot of it conflicting. 

More than a century old, the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester is a poster child for Oklahoma’s deteriorating prison system. Even the sign at its entry gate, with its missing letters, speaks to the infrastructure degradation and other problems insi
Ben Botkin / Oklahoma Watch

Padlocks are welded onto cell doors at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary for when the electronic locks fail.

The state’s three prisons for women are at 129 percent of capacity, meaning inmates must sleep in temporary bunk beds in day rooms.

Shelves with thousands of inmate files jam what once was a basketball court at the Kate Barnard Correctional Center. It’s the backup for a three-decade-old software program used for recordkeeping.

Inside A Judge’s Rehab: Unpaid Work At A Local Coca-Cola Plant

Dec 4, 2017
While at SOAR in Ada, Okla., defendants must work full time for free at a local Coca-Cola bottling plant and other companies, under threat of prison if they don’t comply.
Shane Bevel / Reveal

Retired Oklahoma Judge Thomas Landrith is hailed as a hero of criminal justice reform.

He started the first rural drug court in the nation and has reaped awards for sending defendants to treatment rather than prison. Most judges in the state model their drug courts after his.

Chicken Workers Sue, Saying They Were Modern-Day Slaves

Oct 11, 2017
CAAIR has a sprawling, grassy compound in northeastern Oklahoma. The one-year diversion program mainly relies on faith and work to treat addiction.
Shane Bevel for Reveal

Three Oklahoma men filed a federal class-action lawsuit today alleging that they were modern-day slaves forced by a drug rehabilitation program to work for free in chicken processing plants.

How A Drug Court Rehab Kept Its Participants’ Workers’ Comp

Oct 9, 2017
  Brandon Spurgin was working at the plant when a metal door crashed down on his head one night in 2014, damaging his spine.
Shane Bevel / Reveal

After Fred Barbee broke his ankle while working at a chicken processing plant in Arkansas, he expected time off to heal.

But he wasn’t in a normal workplace. A drug court judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had sent Barbee to a drug rehabilitation program called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, or CAAIR. The program makes men work without pay at plants owned by Simmons Foods Inc.

Desperate to reduce crowding in jails and prisons, court systems all over the country are trying diversion – alternatives to putting offenders behind bars. On today’s Reveal, we peek behind the good intentions and uneven results.
Gabriel Hongsdusit / Reveal

Desperate to reduce crowding in jails and prisons, court systems all over the country are trying diversion – alternatives to putting offenders behind bars. On today’s Reveal, we peek behind the good intentions and uneven results.

Reveal’s Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter investigate an Oklahoma recovery center called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, or CAAIR. The founders of the program say it’s all about helping people with addiction. It turns out it’s also a work camp for a major chicken company.

Reveal: Does The Time Fit The Crime?

Oct 2, 2017
The number of women in U.S. prisons and jails has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for 25 years, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. This week on Reveal, we look at the causes behind this spike.
Ben Fine / Reveal

This week on Reveal, we take a look at prisons as a part of our series And Justice for Some.

The number of women in U.S. prisons has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for nearly all of that time, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. Reveal Senior Editor Ziva Branstetter teams up with Allison Herrera and The Frontier, an Oklahoma-based investigative news website, to find out why.

Let Down And Locked Up: Why Oklahoma’s Female Incarceration Is So High

Sep 20, 2017
Robyn Allen, 52, is serving 20 years at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in central Oklahoma for trafficking of methamphetamine. This was her first felony offense.
Glassbreaker Films

Robyn Allen saw her daughter for the first time in two years from across the yard of Oklahoma’s largest women’s prison, the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.

The Oklahoma County Jail.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Local government has taken another step to improve cooperation between law enforcement and conditions in the Oklahoma County Jail.

As Criminal Justice Laws Take Effect, Uncertainty Surrounds Bigger Changes

Jun 29, 2017
The majority of Oklahoma voters supported State Question 780, which will make simple possession of drugs and certain property crimes misdemeanors. The goal is to reduce incarceration.
Oklahoma Watch

Criminal justice measures approved by Oklahoma voters in November will take effect later this week, testing predictions that fewer people will go to prison and taxpayers will ultimately save millions of dollars.

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