Connie Johnson on Crime
Johnson recently retired after 33-years in the State Senate, representing Oklahoma City's predominantly African American "Eastside," where she pursued a game-changing focus on health/mental health/human services issues that disproportionately affect the economic and social well-being of the poor, minorities, women, children, and people with disabilities. Johnson contends her aggressive proposals on sentencing reform and abolishing the death penalty are beginning to gain traction in Oklahoma's conservative climate.
Johnson's advocacy grew out of her Master's Thesis on Women and Incarceration in Oklahoma, which is reflective of the high cost and impact on the state's budget.
A: Oppose. Stricter punishment only leads to higher costs and no rehabilitation. Because we cannot punish our way to prosperity, we should try investing more in education, health, mental health and good jobs as an alternate way to reduce crime.
An active member of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and as a family member of a murdered child, Connie ardently advocates abolishing the death penalty. Connie recently introduced a resolution calling for a moratorium on Oklahoma executions, pending establishment and findings of an independent, out-of-state investigation. The resolution also calls for a study to examine the cost of the death penalty versus life without parole.
In 2010, Connie suggested investigating the connection between for-profit prisons and mass incarceration in Oklahoma. A Senate commission would provide the first comprehensive report since 1965 on the state of criminal justice in America.