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8:02 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Governor Signs Bill to Slow Oklahoma Prison Growth

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a sweeping criminal justice bill designed to slow the growth of Oklahoma's booming prison population and stem the increasing amount the state spends each year housing convicted criminals.

Fallin on Wednesday signed the Oklahoma Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a key legislative priority of House Speaker Kris Steele.

The bill requires every inmate released from prison to receive nine months of post-incarceration supervision and creates intermediate revocation facilities for criminals who violate the terms of their probation.

The measure also requires anyone convicted of a felony to receive a substance abuse and mental health screening.

Money saved through several of the bill's cost-saving initiatives would be reinvested in local police departments to target high-crime areas.

Oklahoma currently spends about $460 million annually on corrections.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.