Oklahoma Correctional Control: Understanding the Statistics


Oklahoma, for years, has been among the the nation's top in incarceration rates. Ranked first in the incarceration of women and only slightly lower in the incarceration rate of men, the state has been tasked with criminal justice reform in an effort to reduce the population of the state's prison.

But what if we looked not only at state prison incarceration, but all statewide correctional involvement? The Prison Policy Initiative did just that, comparing overall "correctional control" among the various states. According to the report, 2.3 million people across the United States are incarcerated, but when you add in those under correctional control--including probation and parole--the number is much more staggering. The PPI reports that 6.7 million people are under correctional control in the United States.

The report, Correctional Control 2018: Incarceration and Supervision by State, looks at each of the following to determine rate of correctional control:

  • State prison rate
  • Federal prison rate
  • Local jail rate
  • Youth confinement rate
  • Involuntary commitment rate
  • Indian Country jail rate
  • Probation rate
  • Parole rate

Interestingly, while Oklahoma's state prison incarceration rate (second only to Louisiana) ranks near the top, its overall correctional control ranks the state 23rd in the nation. By comparing total correctional control, some states, which incarcerate far fewer people than Oklahoma, are actually ranked above our state in correctional control. This is in large part due to the number of people on supervised release through probation and parole.

According to the report, Oklahoma's state prison incarceration rate is 687 per 100,000. The parole rate is 46, and the probation rate is 844. The state's total correctional control is 1,987 per 100,000 people, which puts the state slightly lower than the U.S. average of 2,045. Georgia, on the other hand, has a smaller (albeit still large) state prison rate of 516, but its correctional control reach is 5,143. To put that in perspective, the second highest correctional control rate is Pennsylvania with 2,968--more than 2,000 less than Georgia.

The PPI's Oklahoma profile breaks down the number or people under each form of correctional control in the state:

  • State prison: 27,000
  • Federal prison: 2,700
  • Local jail: 13,000
  • Youth confinement: 550
  • Involuntary commitment: 170
  • Indian Country jail: 10
  • Probation: 33,000
  • Parole: 1,800

Certainly, Oklahoma should strive to lower the incarceration rate, and with total correctional control being below the national average, perhaps we should consider more judicious use of probation and parole to do so. Still, when looking at states like Georgia, it is clear that probation and parole should not be utilized to increase correctional control. Instead, these community supervision opportunities would be helpful in balancing the incarceration rate.




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