Governor Fallin signs criminal justice reform bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin held a ceremonial bill signing for Senate Bill 1278 on Thursday, June 19 in the Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capitol. 

Sen. Kim David, R-Porter and participants of the 31 participants of the Women in Recovery program joined the governor as she signed the bill into law.

S.B. 1278 is legislation that allows the state of Oklahoma to enter into a Pay for Success (PFS) contract to make positive changes in our state without financial risk. SB 1278 uses PFS contracting to enable private donors to provide upfront funding for a diversion program like Women in Recovery, and the state refunds the investment back into the program only if measurable successes are achieved.

The bill helps improve outcomes, such as reduced rates of incarceration, for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Passage of the bill makes Oklahoma an early adopter of a new financing system for criminal justice reform efforts nationwide.

“Women in Recovery is giving me a chance to change my life for the better,” said Shawna Stice, a current participant of the program. “After six months of being in the program, I’m reunited with my three children and am receiving the support I need to be successful.”

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Stice said Women in Recovery “means everything to me now.”

Women in Recovery (WIR) is an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent female offenders that combines strict supervision with a comprehensive day treatment program.

The City Sentinel, and have frequently covered the organization’s work.

Enactment of S.B. 1278 is an initial step toward implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) championed by former Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steel, R-Shawnee.

WIR’s services include comprehensive case management, supervised visitation with children, job search assistance, substance abuse treatment, employment and vocational training, housing placement, medical services, counseling and life skills training and community integration.

WIR is funded by George Kaiser Family Foundation and operated by Family & Children’s Services in Tulsa.

Note: Pat McGuigan contributed to this report.