FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Marilyn Stark
Phone: (405) 557-7403
Rep. Marilyn Stark (R-Bethany) will host an interim study over state IDs for inmates upon their release at 8:30 a.m. on Tues., Nov. 12, in room 432A at the State Capitol before the House Public Safety Committee.
Stark, who attended Monday’s release in Taft of over 50 women whose sentences were commuted under House Bill 1269, said that the Legislature has taken important first steps for criminal justice reform, but there is more to be done.
“The Legislature is making progress to seriously address Oklahoma’s incarceration and recidivism rates, but it’s important that we build off of the steps we’ve taken so far and continue the momentum to propel Oklahoma into a Top Ten state,” Stark said. “The easier we can make the transition back into civilian life for people leaving incarceration, the less likely they are to reoffend. We know that the justice system has already verified the identity of each person in the system, so it seems like a serious flaw that we aren’t providing a state ID for them when they reenter society.”
Stark said this issue came to her attention prior to her election to the House while she was working with an organization that offered a food bank. She said food banks require an ID, which many former inmates lost track of while imprisoned, and a lack of state ID contributes significantly to the struggles former inmates face upon release.
Speakers may include Kris Steele, executive director of Teem; Jessica Brown from the Dept. of Corrections; Jeff Hankins, the director of drivers’ licenses services at the Dept. of Public Safety; Captain Sheridan O’Neal, a legislative liaison at the Dept. of Public Safety; Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe; and Kelly Baker, the state registrar of vital records at the Dept. of Health.
Stark expects to file legislation this year to address this issue. The deadline to introduce new bills is Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The second session of the 57th Legislature will commence Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.
A livestream of the study will be available here beginning at 8:30 a.m.