by ACLU Staffers: Candace Liger, Amy Gioletti, and Nicole McAfee If the “Tussle at the Tower,” the final debate between candidates for Oklahoma County Sheriff, taught us anything, it’s that desperately needed reforms for the Oklahoma County Jail will not likely come from the next occupant of the Sheriff’s office. The three candidates, (acting) Sheriff P.D. Taylor (R), Oklahoma County Sergeant Mike Hanson (D), and former Canadian County Undersheriff Ed Grimes (I), discussed inmates, felons, and prisoners, but rarely broke with tired talking points and status quo policies. With an excess of 2,000 folks locked in cages in the Oklahoma County Jail on any given day,Read More →

Today the ACLU of Oklahoma released the first of a seven part video series showcasing the human rights catastrophe within the Oklahoma County jail. The series is inspired by this week’s “Wheel of Justice” gimmick on local news featuring the Oklahoma County Sheriff. A host spun a wheel of men and women charged with a variety of crimes then asked the public for help apprehending the “winner” of the spin. This type of “game show” coverage has been aired in a handful of states across the U.S., so ACLU Community Organizer, Candace Liger, took the idea in a new direction. The ACLU created a versionRead More →

The following statement is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director: “We’re pleased to see reports that District Attorney Greg Mashburn has dropped the remaining charges in his ridiculous multi-year assault on Norman’s Friendly Market. This decision comes in the wake of thoughtful people from around Oklahoma rising up to express their anger and frustration at Mashburn’s waste of taxpayer resources on this frivolous prosecution. While we are pleased to see this development after two years of pushing this indefensible front in the failed war on drugs, this prosecution remains a symptom of a much larger problem. Mashburn’s continued insistence that the racist, demoralizing, and draconianRead More →

OKLAHOMA CITY–In response to the announcement that the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office will lead their own investigations into the killing their officers committed on June 9, the ACLU of Oklahoma made the following statement: The following statement is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director: “We have serious doubts about the capability of Tulsa Police Department (TPD) and Tulsa County Sheriff’s (TCSO) office to investigate this morning’s killing in an unbiased and honest manner. Even if one only considers the last last two years of disturbing conduct in both of these departments, it is absurd to ask the residents of TulsaRead More →

OKLAHOMA CITY–Blame for the Oklahoma House’s shameful last-minute scuttling of monumental criminal justice reform measures with overwhelming bipartisan support falls squarely on House leadership. Despite having a clear mandate from voters to reverse the unsustainable and destructive course of Oklahoma’s overly harsh, discriminatory, and counterproductive criminal justice system, House leaders tucked tail and capitulated to out of touch, taxpayer subsidized lobbying groups. While the public face of this cowardly act of obstructionism has been Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, a deeper scorn should be directed at House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka. Speaker McCall may have for the time being escaped blame for this embarrassment, but historyRead More →