VOICE leaders have worked on criminal justice reform since our founding. After listening to stories from people in our member institutions about how they struggled with heavy debt related to criminal justice fees, VOICE was among the very first organizations to raise the issue of fines and fees. VOICE leaders put this issue on the map in recent criminal justice reform efforts in the city, and sparked new research by others on the impacts of a dysfunctional funding system.
Leaders are now focused on working effectively with the new Oklahoma County Sheriff on jail conditions and transparency. VOICE continues to support criminal justice reform at the state level. Since passage of State Question 780, which was passed with a significant margin by Oklahomans in fall 2016, VOICE has called on the legislature to make this question retroactive, which it did in the 2019 legislative session. Unfortunately, a last-minute amendment changed what could have been a reclassification process into a costly expunging process making it financially out of reach for many Oklahomans. VOICE will continue to work with all stakeholders on this important issue.