On the Horizon: Prisons and Drugs

About 80 percent of prison inmates are there because of a drug conviction or crimes fueled by a drug dependency. I am not one to blame drug dependency or my love of greasy Mexican food on anything more than the lack of self control. I know breaking a drug addiction is difficult, but many people have kicked the habit. So while I am in the no excuses camp, I do believe state prisons are an awfully expensive solution to solve the state’s drug abuse problem.

My hat is off to Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House Kris Steele who led the passage of the some of the first alternative sentencing laws despite lots of pressure from within his own party not to. A landmark corrections bill, dealing with nonviolent offenders and intended to relieve prison overcrowding, took effect this month. HB 2131, the first significant piece of legislation favoring alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders, expands both the use of community sentencing programs and the electronic monitoring of low-risk, nonviolent inmates.

In this week’s video blog, I introduce you to a guy our tax dollars are paying to house until 2034…at the earliest. Vince loved his cocaine and went on a robbery spree in Tulsa a few years back. He would call a taxi, have them drive him to a Subway sandwich shop, stick his finger in his pocket and then tell the teenager behind the counter to give him all his money. Pretty stupid stuff, and leaves little doubt he must have been on drugs. No surprise he gets caught and under mandatory sentencing gets a huge sentence.

Is Vince a threat or just a person with poor judgment and a drug problem? Take a look at what he has to say and let me know what you think. I am curious if I am just a sucker.

Rob McClendon