OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would increase the age of those who can participate in the Delayed Sentencing Program for Young Adults from 21 to 25 passed the House today with a vote of 86-6.
House Bill 3295 by state Rep. Carl Newton (R-Cherokee) would allow non-violent youthful offenders over the age of 18 who are in custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to participate in the program.
“Increasing the age of participants could help these young offenders get the help they need to get clean and live free lives without having to serve a long prison sentence,” Newton said. “This program has proven to be successful in getting offenders out and in helping them to become productive citizens. This program is good for all Oklahoma.”
Newton said the Bill Johnson Correctional Center in Alva is a main source for this program, which places youthful offenders that qualify into a boot-camp like setting for between 180 days to a year. The program offers counseling, psychiatric or medical treatment, drug rehabilitation, education or vocational training, work and other programs that offer the best opportunity for rehabilitation.
Offenders that successfully complete the program can receive a deferred sentence or have their criminal charges suspended or dismissed.
HB 3295 now moves to the state Senate where the Senate author is Sen. Michael Brooks (D-Oklahoma City).