Help Us End Debtors' Prisons in Oklahoma

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We are social work students advocating for the passing of House Bill: 1476: End Debtors' Prisons in Oklahoma, a criminal justice reform bill. This bill would limit the amount of bail set for defendants and lessen the overall jail population in Oklahoma counties. This bill would help Oklahoman taxpayers as well as the prisoners stuck in jail because they cannot afford bail and other fees.

Being unable to pay for the court issued fees fines has led to the overcrowding within the states and county jails. This is termed debtors’ prisons, and they are illegal. The mass incarceration that the state of Oklahoma imposes is a threat to the families who are affected by the incarceration of a loved one. Families are being broken up and are filled with crumbling debt. Due to this cloud of debt, many families are reduced to illegal nonviolent alternatives to make ends meet. This is detrimental, not only to the families, but also to the community whose safety and reputation are at risk and harm. 

Oklahoma leads the nation in incarcerating women and is second in incarcerating men. This is at epidemic levels. Of the approximately 450,000 inmates awaiting trial, most were there because they could not afford bail. The policy that is aimed at solving this issue is H.B. 1476. It is currently stuck in committee and needs support, both in the legislature as well as in the community that can benefit immensely from passing this bill. Passing this policy would change family dynamics and allow those unable to pay to become active members of society again, and towards a better life.

Find your Reps and Senators:

Follow us on Twitter: @EndOKDebtPrison

Read more about the "Prisoners of Debt" here:

Read more about Oklahoma Debtors' Prisons here: Oklahoma Policy Institute

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