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Expected Criminal Justice Bill (May 07, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A criminal justice bill expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin next week represents a shift in Oklahoma's incarceration policies.

Supporters say the Justice Reinvestment Initiative will slow prison growth, hold offenders more accountable and make Oklahoma communities safer.

House Speaker Kris Steele of Shawnee authored the bill and says it will better manage Oklahoma's growing prison population, provide more crime-fighting resources to law enforcement and better manage parolees.

Oklahoma has the third highest overall incarceration rate in the nation and the highest incarceration rate for women. There were 25,739 prisoners in state Department of Corrections custody at the end of April with 18,062 in DOC facilities, 97 percent of capacity.

Those not in a state prison were in facilities such as private prisons or prison hospitals.

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