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Crime Bill Passes Senate Committee (Apr 03, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - House Speaker Kris Steele's plan to ease the state's explosive prison growth and reduce Oklahoma's violent crime rate has cleared a key Senate committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Tuesday, and it now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

The bill increases funding for local law enforcement and expands the use of substance abuse treatment programs, probation services and inmate evaluations.

The bill initially changed the way inmates serving time for so-called 85-percent crimes could receive credits, but that portion was removed by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman. The change is expected to reduce the projected savings of the bill by about $35 million.

House analysts still project the bill will save about $165 million in prison costs over the next decade.

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