In explanation of the 12-percent slashing of the budget of the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center, Senate Co-President Pro Tempore has said the CJRC has been spending money at an unsustainable rate. This is sustained by having a silver lining in the situationby creating efficiency and cutting fat at a government agency.
As outgoing chairman of the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission, I feel that it was better to agree to the 12-percent reduction in budget than face the possibility of having the entire budget cut for the CJRC and ultimately eliminating the CJRC.
The CJRC was formed by legislation in 1990 and was given a variety of duties, including providing administrative support to the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission. I have relied upon the information from the CJRC as the chairman and the year that I was co-chair to help formulate resolutions to present to the Oklahoma Legislature.
Without the resources of the CJRC, the Sentencing Commission would not be able to function and provide the information as required by the legislation that created the Sentencing Commission.
To those who are familiar with politics, the CJRC is to live by the Golden Rule: He with the gold rules. In this case Senator Coffee, as Co-President of the Oklahoma Senate, was able to reduce the budget under the headlines of creating efficiency and cutting fat at a government agency. The CJRC has been operating efficiently and was not a fat part of the Oklahoma government. This is a continuation of the politics in the state of Oklahoma and which agency is important and which is not.
I look forward to working with the new Chairman, Rep. Gus Blackwell, in this next year as we continue our work in the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission and with the hopes that we can reduce our prison overcrowding and at the same time protect the citizens of Oklahoma.