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  • Writer's picturejohnnobles

The Lowdown on State Question 805

The Oklahoma Policy Institute has compiled a fact sheet on State Question 805, which is on the ballot for the November 3rd election in Oklahoma. The primary impact of the proposed legislation would have is to end the use of most non-violent felony convictions to enhance the range of punishment for subsequent offenders. Ending the use of non-violent offenses on "second pages" for sentence enhancement builds on the reclassification of offenses approved by voters in 2016 in State Questions 780 and 781. That legislation lead to several non-violent offenses being reduced from felonies to misdemeanors effect in June 2017. Affected offenses included simple drug possession charges (not distribution or trafficking) and knowingly concealing stolen property (separating the offense into misdemeanor and felony categories based upon the value of the property involved).

SQ 805 would also create a new system for defendants to request sentence modification if the new law would effect the laws under which they were convicted. Presumably, this new system would be broader than the current system of judicial review or post-conviction relief and would further reduce the strain of non-violent offenders being housed in Oklahoma prisons.

Any efforts to reduce the use of prisons for the housing of people struggling with addiction, mental health or poverty should be considered seriously and not cast aside due to fear-mongering by those that sank Oklahoma into the over-incarceration we engaged in far too long.

Ballotpedia has additional analysis as well.

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