I would like to address Fallin’s first point, “Oklahoma’s drug possession sentences haven’t deterred substance abuse”. Most people thrown in cages for using drugs are not necessarily “substance abusers”. This says people who are charged with a drug “crime” are abusers which is a fallacy. Substance users (or abusers) do not belong in prison. Substance use (or abuse) is not an issue for politicians much like someone with an alcohol or prescription narcotic addiction wouldn’t be. According to this statement Jaqie Angel Warrior and Austin’s Answer are criminals and substance abusers.
Her next statement, “These sentences tend to send some non violent offenders into prison”. Incarcerating a person for a drug offense alone is a non violent “offense”. There may be other, perhaps violent, crimes that this person may have committed, but the charge for drug use or even distribution is non violent.
Her last statement, “live alongside violent offenders whose bad influences can make non violent offenders worse”. This is almost a nonsensical statement. Incarcerating non violent “offenders” is a crime. Many people locked up for drug offenses aren’t merely “non violent” they are peaceful people who are now subjected to violations by not only other inmates but the agents of the state charged to “care” for them.
While sentencing reforms are absolutely necessary the real elephant in the room is Oklahoma’s horrible Drug Policy. People are dehumanized for their personal choices and most often the only violence arriving from their choices is from the state via incarceration, guns pointed at them, homes invaded, children removed from loving homes and traumatized by doing so.
These are great talking points but let’s see some action. Lawmakers seem to be more concerned with frivolous things rather than addressing a real human rights violation that is Oklahoma Drug Policy.
The Drug War is good business for the state. It won’t loosen it’s grip easily or willingly.The CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO (formerly Wackenhut) have both engaged in state initiatives to increase sentences and create new crimes. The CCA sent a letter to 48 states offering to buy public prisons in exchange for a promise to keep them at 90% occupancy for 20 years. The prisons are for profit, yet still use tax dollars for funding and lease out captive labor to big business. With the private-public prison industry there is a contractual agreement to keep prisons at a certain capacity which of course is incentive to incarcerate people even for non violent drug offenses.
The problem is not solved by enacting more laws, it is solved by protecting rights. Locking people up for non violent drug offenses does not support liberty or freedom, it instead feeds the state, victimizes peaceful people in the form of taxation and incarceration, it keeps people out of the work force, and makes it much for difficult for them to attain a quality of life once released. Change will only occur with push back from those that are violated by these laws and that includes all of us.
I am with you all the way. I have plenty to say about the prison system serious issues! There’s also another issue with the laws. On the federal level. I watched it myself. They call it a catch 22. The people in the White House are saying that they need more research into this. Well, they are not funding any kind of research! So, how are they supposed to receive the research? That’s a catch 22! Now, this is only the 2nd time I have spoken out about this part of my life, so please bare with me. In 1997 I was in a domestic abuse situation and had married the creep, I barely knew him when at 23 years old I got pregnant and stupidly thought I was doing the right thing. I waited until my daughter was 2 months old before marrying him. I knew I had made a terrible mistake on our honeymoon. But, I got pregnant again very soon after with my second daughter. We moved here to Oklahoma and he became more abusive. I called the police a few months later, I had stopped fighting back with him, because I felt that my daughters should never see that which made him even crazier. After he destroyed our house and while I tried grabbing the phone he reached it first and hit me right above the temple with it. I truly thought the police would help me, because I was covered in blood. I was wrong they gave me 2 choices.1 we both could go to jail and my babies would go to DHS because I knew no one that could watch them. 2 the next choice was I could stay. I asked what happens when he does this again? They told me if they were called back I would only have one choice. My mother had been working where we came from at DHS child protection. Needless to say I never called again. So, I hid everything from everyone. Finally, 3 weeks prior to July 4th 1997, my parents owned the business and 15 acres that we lived on. I didn’t understand what meth could do to someone, because I didn’t know anything about it. So, 3 weeks prior we happened to be in a storage unit and my 21/2 year old daughter was there, I don’t remember where my 31/2 year old daughter was, I imagine taking a nap I just truly don’t remember. He misunderstood what I had said apparently and as I was walking right past my kitchen window was when I heard them, running footsteps behind me and I froze. Because, at 15-17 I was with a 26 year old drunk. I remembered those footsteps from him. The next thing I knew it was to late, because I had frozen in fear. I was down with his hands around my throat and my 21/2 year old daughter was standing there crying. I started fighting then, but it was to late and as my head was shaking back and forth all I could see was her tiny face crying so hard. But, she just kept getting further away. I don’t know if he thought he killed me or not, but when I came to, my little girl had her head laying on my hip and she was sobbing and patting my thigh. I knew I had to try and run and after we were gone a week maybe two, he would also understand we could not live together anymore and he would go rent a place and we could co-parent. I had already written the letter and knew exactly what I was taking, unfortunately the plan didn’t involve a small dog I was boarding. Along side of the storage units I had a boarding kennel and with him a masonry business. He had stopped giving us any money for over 6 months. So, I also worked bartending & coctail waitressing started out part time, but ended up with me working 6 nights from 6:00pm to 2:00am. So, on July 4th 1997, he came home wanting to take HIS boat out and I had bought a used Nissan Maxima for $1,500.00 while he drove the $40,000.00 truck my mom co- signed for. I had paid $500 on it and he promised to pay the rest off when he finished this one house. So, I asked him knowing at the very least he had received $8,000.00 or so, because I did most of the estimates and things like that. He said he could maybe give me $200, I made a smart comment about what did you do spend all of it on that crap? Next I was flying across the room, but hit the wall above the couch. He said you think I’m on drugs and grabbed the longest knife out of the wooden box and said in front of both crying girls that he would give me blood and I could go have it tested. Not on drugs??? I calmed him down and got him to agree to put the boat in and we would meet him at the dock. I grabbed everything that was ready, put the letter exactly where he would see it walking in and we ran. He only wanted my youngest daughter he didn’t care about my 31/2 year old daughter because she looked exactly like me. So, I had forgotten about the little dog I was keeping, I usually kept them in the indoor/outdoor runs, but with peoples permission I would keep the little ones in my house. It took me 2 days circling around the area, I got him some how to his owners. The first 2 nights we pretended to be camping out. I was going to Joplin and buying camping stuff so we would make a holiday like of it. On July 6th we stopped in Miami Oklahoma and got gas other items. They are and back in the car. My last memory was yelling at them and getting on the turnpike. I woke a little with my mom asking if I knew what happened? Somehow I did. I woke just enough to see a few people who shouldn’t have been there and thankfully God would let me sink back into the nothingness. I missed my daughters funeral, while I laid in a medical induced coma. I had went into some construction and hit a 3 foot high cement border. My car chrushed in on us like a tin can. I was trying to save us, save my 21/2 year old daughter only to lose her forever. My 31/2 year old daughter only had a black eye. My car blew up in 7 minutes. I had my left femur broken and ripped out the side of my leg and my spleen was ruptured I was in surgery for over 13 hours being rebuilt. My doctors said I would be in a wheelchair and walking with a cane in about 2 years. At 3 months I couldn’t take the physical therapy without pain medications and I had already lost 3 months th them. So, I quit trying and on the 4th month I went to where I had worked every night, and I drank and drank. I am not a drinker and that was the last time since before my daughters were born. Someone offered me a line of meth and since I was so lost in my grief and drunk I did 2. I was awake almost 3 days and I could finally breathe without my heart in pieces, my broken body didn’t matter I had realized I didn’t even remember how to breathe without dying inside. But, I had to live somehow for my daughter. Then, one night a cook shows up at my door wanting to help me. Right?? He gave me a 8 ball of meth and I became obsessed not doing it, but making it, so I wouldn’t have to live in my nightmare anymore. It was only 7-8 months after he came I lost my daughter to my parents which was right because I couldn’t take care of myself let alone her by then. I ended up on the run and finally I just wanted to go be with my daughter. But, I was arrested first and I wouldn’t wait it out my public defender said I could get probation, but no I had to plead guilty. Because in my mind I had killed my daughter no punishment was enough for her. I was in9 months when 2 checks came up I wrote so I took 6 years on that. I shouldn’t have even been making decisions for myself at all. I did almost 21/2 years (which is longer than most pedophiles ), in a maximum security prison. I didn’t even have drugs on me or in the car I borrowed. I lost everything. When in reality I should have been placed in a mental health place. I was in the same house as the oldest woman on death row at that time, Fay Copeland there maybe a e at the end of the first name. She got a stay or something but I do know she died in a halfway house or something. It’s been so many years now. I had at that time 3 Cellies/roommates, over 1600 women and they were going to turn each room into 8 women cells. I don’t know if they have or not. When you first go in you have to stay in R&O where they test you, do everything to you. Where you are given 1 bottle of shampoo and 1 bar of soap the kind that is most hotels? A small comb, and a trial size toothbrush and toothpaste. That’s it. Then, you are put in general population. When you get to general population you are given a cell. You go to school until you pass your GED or can prove you have a high school diploma if you have anyone on the streets that cares enough to provide it. You work the other half of a day. They feed you, but all the people who think we live our lives in there having everything gave to us like hygiene stuff not true!!! You are paid at that time it was $3.25 a month to buy what you need. Now, the other inmates that’s a whole nothing story. I had a let’s just say roommate that her girl broke up with her after years together and her girlfriend was into someone else. They were both lifers. So, my roommate was asking around for hiv blood she could put in the new girlfriends cup of drink while she worked. That’s just one. The guards who are mostly male, some were more dangerous. Our showers didn’t have doors nor did the bathrooms and 1 guard in particular was very dangerous if he caught you alone, he was in charge and there was nothing he wouldn’t do!!! Even though worst inmates tried to help their people. Overcrowding??? When inspections came in R&O they weren’t allowed to have us sleeping on cots. We had to scrabble hide the cots hide everyone that slept on them. It was insane, how they broke every rule and law. But, I think the worst part is getting out, first you have to hide it and tell nobody. Because, everyone in there will do anything to make you stay. Set you up, hurt you so bad, kill you if they can! One poor 19 year old was in the minimum security prison and they found out she was getting paroled she hadn’t been down but for a few months, she didn’t know. What the women and the guards that stood watch they tore her to pieces with broken broom handles and mop handles. She barely lived, but will never be able to have children she had 7 surgery’s, I don’t know what happened to her and to be honest I don’t want to know. I could have been sent there had an easier time in a minimum security, but I didn’t believe I deserved an easier time. I found out my cas worker put me in for a transfer and I violated by stepping off the sidewalks into the grass, other small things like that. I still to this day have that conditioning in me. I can’t cut across the grass to go into or out of wherever I am going, I still have to take the sidewalk. I know that this was long, I just wanted you to understand how I got to such a place in life. I still can’t find work at a dollar general store or Taco Bell because I am a convicted felon an ex-con, everyone knows we are all liars and thieves and killers and we aren’t good enough to have and keep our children! What about the rapist guards they’re the “Good guys” yeah right!!! There’s some in every house in that place!!! I probably won’t ever be able to get low income housing, I don’t qualify because I am a felon! Where’s the policeman’s responsibilities for this??? Some of them are just as rotten as those guards!!! I had one pull me over as soon as he saw my 20 year old history guess what he offered me??? I think you can imagine it just fine and that was only recently. Because, I keep recording devices in my car is the only way I can stay safe, by pulling the sad card after they tell me how I will do this and that, I pull one I keep close and show it to them and pretend to swallow it and tell them do you think you can find them all? That’s what kind of things the rehabilitation system teaches you!!!