Oklahoma has an important question on the ballot with State Question 805, which gives Oklahomans a choice on how people should be sentenced for nonviolent crimes.
Before you vote, keep in mind some of the facts.
Yes on SQ 805 means that people convicted of nonviolent crimes could be sentenced up to the maximum allowable time in prison for their crime, but would not receive additional time in prison because of their past.
SQ 805 applies only to nonviolent offenses.
We've all heard the phrase that people have "paid their debt to society," in the form of punishment they received for the crime committed.
Is that true if we vote no?
Instead, no on SQ 805 means that years could be taken away from a person not for the nonviolent crime they just committed, but because they had committed another nonviolent crime in their past.
Apparently, that debt to society was not paid.
I ask you to consider the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when voting on this measure.
It reads, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
Is someone serving a 33-year sentence for writing $400 in bad checks in violation of that?
Is that excessive? Cruel and unusual? Is that justice for the crime committed?
Oklahoma has an unjust and expensive mass incarceration problem.
Let's take a step toward solving it while achieving fairness at the same time.
Vote yes on SQ 805.
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