House of Representatives

House Passes “Sarah Stitt Act” to Help Inmates Find Post-Incarceration Employment

3/11/2020 11:31:00 AM

Contact: State Rep. Brian Hill
Phone: (405) 557-7333

The Oklahoma House of Representatives today passed legislation inspired by the efforts of First Lady Sarah Stitt to assist people leaving incarceration with finding gainful employment.

House Bill 3113, also known as the “Sarah Stitt Act,” was authored by State Rep. Brian Hill (R-Mustang) and requires the State Dept. of Corrections to provide inmates preparing to reenter society with certain relevant documentation to assist the inmate in obtaining post-release employment.

Necessary documentation, as available, includes vocational training records, work records, state-issued identification cards, birth certificates, Social Security cards and resumes. Prisoners will also complete a practice job interview.

Hill said he decided to file the bill after learning more about the issue following the First Lady’s push to prepare people leaving incarceration to find employment opportunities prior to the historic Nov. 1 commutations.

“House Bill 3113 is a common-sense step to help prevent Oklahomans leaving incarceration from returning to incarceration. All of the documents outlined in this bill are necessary for a person to find housing and find a job, both of which have a huge impact on the likelihood of a person to reoffend,” Hill said. “When a person has served their time and is attempting to reenter society, it’s extremely important that we make sure they are prepared to return to the workforce. Former inmates struggle to find work after incarceration, and as a state, we should be assisting them rather than indirectly increasing their chances of returning to prison.”

The First Lady was seated in the House gallery to watch the presentation of House Bill 3113. She was recognized by Rep. Hill and applauded by the House following the passage of the bill.

“HB3113 puts into law the idea behind the re-entry fairs that were started this past November,” Stitt said. “We want our fellow Oklahomans to have the resources and support they need in order to successfully transition back into society. This bill aligns with that vision, and I am excited to see it become a permanent fixture of our corrections system.”

Following the passage of HB 3113 by a 96-0 vote, the bill is now available to be considered in the Senate.