Homework: If interim studies are a leading indicator of legislative activity for the next session, state Rep. Justin Humphery, R-Lane, is going to be wearing out some House staffers.
Humphrey has held at least a half-dozen studies this fall on corrections and justice reform. It’s something he feels very strongly about.
“My intent is to completely change the criminal justice system so we are better addressing repeat offenders and holding true criminals accountable for their actions. This is the heart of public safety,” Humphrey said in a press release at the end of last week. “But, we must stop treating everyone like a criminal. Some people are dealing with substance abuse and addiction issues. Some people are dealing with mental illness or a trauma in their lives. We need to get these people the appropriate help, which turns out is much more cost-effective than throwing them in prison. We also need to revise our probation and parole system.”
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If this creates the impression that Humphrey is some kind of mollycoddling liberal, it is misleading. He is the guy who once referred to pregnant women as fetus “hosts” with few if any right to an abortion, and he was instrumental in passing legislation to keep transgender athletes out of girls’ and women’s athletics.
And he’s a former corrections officer, drug court administrator and independent parole supervisor who’s about as good of a friend as law officers have at the Capitol.
But, he said, “If we keep sending money to prisons, they will find a way to use everything we send them. If we want true reform, we need to start sending money to the programs that help address the root of the problem.”
Deputy dogs: Not really politics, but nevertheless worth noting that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ five new contraband-sniffing dogs uncovered 2.75 pounds of marijuana, 16 pounds of tobacco and 14 cellphones — yes, they can even find cellphones — in a farm building near the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite.
The new recruits are Belgian Malinois and, according to the DOC, will soon add fentanyl detection to their repertoire.
BIA bucks: Oklahoma tribal nations received a little over $1 million of the $44.4 million in climate resiliency grants distributed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Among the funds and where they’re going:
Chickasaw, $53,178, workshops.
Cherokee, $245,037, developing a resiliency plan.
Chickasaw, $212,420, vulnerability assessments.
Kaw, $250,000, predicting impacts, especially in regard to water and Kaw Lake.
Ottawa, $243,114, northeast Oklahoma watershed.
Caddo, $9,002, travel for training.
Meetings and events: The Tulsa County Republican Party is holding an election day watch party at the Doubletree Warren Place, 6110 S. Yale Ave.
Tickets are $25 or $300 for tables. See the Tulsa County GOP’s Facebook page for reservations and details.
Tulsa County Democrats will have their watch party at the Agora Event Center, 1402 S. Peoria Ave. See the Tulsa County Democratic Party’s Facebook page for details.
The Tulsa Press Club, 415 S. Boston Ave., in the Atlas Building arcade, is hosting a non-partisan watch party.
State Rep. Lonnie Sims of Jenks and state Sen. Cody Rogers of Tulsa, neither of whom are on the Nov. 8 ballot, will speak to the Tulsa County Republican Men’s Club meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Oklahoma Joe’s, 6175 E. 61st St.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World