NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Voting yes on State Question 762 is a positive move to help Oklahoma start changing its apparent mindset from “the more punishment the better” to “let’s restore lives.” As you prepare to cast your vote next Tuesday, ask yourself why does Oklahoma have the world’s highest incarceration rate for women and the 3rd highest rate in the nation for men? Could it be that we have been brainwashed by political slogans and fear statements like “be tough on crime” and “don’t open the prison doors.”
Do campaign slogans outweigh and overshadow the Biblical teaching of forgiveness and restoring lives as portrayed in the story of the prodigal son? How much of the escalating rise in the number of prison inmates over the last 20 years can be attributed to investors seeking steady, rising profits? Have we entered a period when making money with private prisons and providing employment for incarceration workers takes precedence over restoring peoples’ lives? In answering these questions, keep in mind that as the expense has gone up for housing and feeding the increasing prison population while the money available for drug and alcohol abuse treatment or job training has gone down.
Long term punishment, inmate warehouses, and prisons for profit are steadily replacing drug treatment, job training, forgiveness, and restoring peoples’ lives. A yes vote on 762 is a way of saying, “I care and let’s start using tax dollars to restore lives.”