Who needs George Soros when you have Republicans in Oklahoma enacting his number one agenda item – de-incarceration? In case you think the stupidity of downgrading crimes and increasing prison release, and the inevitable crime wave that follows, is limited to San Francisco, think again. Oklahoma is a state where no Democrat presidential candidate has carried a single county since 2000, but when it comes to crime, Oklahoma Republicans might as well be San Francisco Democrats.
Oklahoma Republicans adopt the drug and theft culture of San Francisco
By now, most Americans are familiar with California’s Prop 47 and how the downgrading of drug and theft crimes led to a rise in drugs and theft and has saddled San Francisco with a culture of homelessness and shoplifting. “Sure glad we live in a nice red area, far away from San Francisco values” is what many Americans living in the heartland think upon seeing the endless negative headlines on San Francisco. The problem is that, thanks to a perfidious Republican Party, those San Francisco values have permeated every state in the union, particularly Oklahoma.
The Koch-funded “conservative” organizations have convinced Oklahoma Republicans to embark on a one-sided mission of prison release rather than stemming the tide of growing crime. They have made them feel guilty about having the highest incarceration rate of any state. Yet rather than identifying case-by-case individuals for release, the state’s politicians successfully passed State Question 780, which downgraded drug and theft crimes across the board. They followed up with it last year by making those changes retroactive. This led to the single largest prison release in one day in our nation’s history, when 462 felons walked out the door on November 4.
“This marks an important milestone of Oklahomans wanting to focus the state’s efforts on helping those with nonviolent offenses achieve better outcomes in life,” said a beaming Gov. Kevin Stitt upon their release. “The historic commutation of individuals in Oklahoma’s prisons is only possible because our state agencies, elected officials, and partnering organizations put aside politics and worked together to move the needle.”
Yet there’s one thing elitist politicians overlook in the criminal justice discussion: crime and its impact on the rest of society. Everything for them is a zero-sum game of sympathy for the convicts. What they don’t realize is that, fundamentally, we are not locking up people for minor crimes, and even those locked up for so-called minor crimes are usually not incarcerated for that long – and it’s usually because they had a longer rap sheet of violent crime and violated their parole with theft, drugs, or driving offenses.
Moreover, as we’ve seen in San Francisco, when you decriminalize even low-level offenses, it leads to chaos for property owners, businesses, and public order. Indeed, other people exist in the world who have rights and a stake in public policy aside from criminals.
Gov. Kevin Stitt certainly moved the needle, all right, towards San Francisco. Drugs, theft, and homelessness, brought to you by jailbreak. Last week, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office announced a new task force to combat the growing burglary trend and placed the blame squarely on the new laws. “Since the threshold of certain crimes changed some felonies to misdemeanors back in 2017 we have seen a steady increase of thefts in Oklahoma County,” wrote the sheriff’s office in a Facebook post on November 13.