As work continues to reform the state’s criminal justice system, Sen. Adam Pugh has filed two bills to ensure inmates are better prepared to re-enter society. The Edmond Republican said his plans will improve community relations, protect public safety and lower recidivism rates by providing offenders with a plan of action and the tools needed to become independent, productive citizens.
“Helping individuals successfully re-enter society takes a multifaceted approach. Most offenders have very little, if any, education or job and life skills training and may lack family or other support systems to help them get back on their feet,” Pugh said. “We need to build strong partnerships with communities, businesses and nonprofits to help those who have paid their debt to society start a new life by providing them the tools they need to be self-sufficient, responsible citizens.”
SB 1456 directs the Department of Corrections (DOC) to annually review its inmate rehabilitation case plans with every parole-eligible inmate. SB 1463 creates the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which authorizes the DOC Director to formulize and implement a plan for re-entry for each eligible offender no later than twelve months prior to an anticipated release date.
“As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.’ As a state, we must do better at finding out what causes offenders to commit crimes and create individual plans to address those issues while they’re in prison whether it’s through counseling, education, job training, parent counseling or other areas. Otherwise, it’s likely they’ll end up back in prison because they aren’t properly prepared,” Pugh said. “Offenders’ time in prison should be utilized in a manner that helps prepare them mentally and emotionally to be better parents, spouses, workers and citizens. This will not only improve their lives but will protect and improve public safety and build stronger communities.”
The bills will be assigned to committee and up for consideration when the legislative session begins on Monday, Feb. 3.
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