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Tulsa County voters have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the criminal justice system in the general election this November. As the second largest city in Oklahoma, Tulsa can elect a district attorney committed to ending mass incarceration.

District Attorneys are the most powerful people in the criminal justice system. They decide everything from who gets a second chance through diversion and treatment programs for sending people away for life.

Many of the children who are presently gearing up for a new school year are also preparing to face police on a daily basis. The numbers of cops in schools is growing, which often means that instead of a detention or a timeout, routine misbehavior can result in arrest and criminal charges — with children of color disproportionately impacted. The U.S. Department of Education recently released data collected from America’s 96,000 public schools. That data shows that students of color make up the majority of public school students for the first time.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Allie Shinn, Director of External Affairs, 405-314-4872; ashinn@acluok.org

Nicole McAfee, Smart Justice Campaign Manager, 830-334-1660; nmcafee@acluok.org

The United States sends more people to prison or jail than any other nation in the world.  Donald Trump pledged to be tough on crime, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has pushed to reinvigorate the war on drugs. They're contributing to the mass incarceration crisis, but they didn't create it. It's the result of decades of criminal policies enacted in every state in this country.  

The Campaign for Smart Justice is doing one last push before the Primary Runoff Election on August 28th to educate voters about criminal justice reform and the important role District Attorneys play in contributing to mass incarceration.

District Attorneys are the most powerful people in the criminal justice system. This elected position has enormous unchecked power and decides the future for thousands of Oklahomans and their families every day. Tulsa County will have the opportunity to elect a District Attorney committed to reducing mass incarceration.

Have you ever watched an episode of “Law & Order”? The creators do an amazing job of dramatizing the court process. The characters playing the prosecutors are always eloquent and passionate as they go toe-to-toe with an indignant defense attorney who is quick to counter every point. We see this version of the trial process all the time in mainstream media. The real life, everyday version is much different. My real-life experience was much different.

Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis was not created in one election cycle, and it will take more than one to fix it. But the fact that an entrenched incumbent district attorney in Tulsa County was pulled into runoff against an opponent preaching reform this week shows that voters are not okay with the status quo.