Despite efforts to reduce incarceration, Oklahoma's prison population is growing at a steady pace.
The trend includes a surge of state inmates being held in county jails in recent months and the rate of women in prison reaching its highest recorded level.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections data show that since late 2014, a year when early-release policies were relaxed to help reduce incarceration, the number of inmates in corrections facilities has increased by nearly 1,200, reaching 28,095 near the end of 2015. The total also rose throughout 2014.
Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics also show that Oklahoma had the second highest incarceration rate in the nation in 2014, at 700 inmates per 100,000 population. The national rate was 471.
Oops. Wrong article. That's an Oklahoma Watch piece about Oklahoma having the second highest incarceration rate in the country! My bad. Now let's get back to the Sooner state being the third freest state in the country:
As noted earlier in this book, Oklahoma is the most improved state for the 2000–2014 period. Moreover, although the Sooner State’s personal freedom lags its economic freedom, it has made significant progress on both dimensions.
Oklahoma is one of the lowest-taxed states in America. However, it is also fiscally centralized. Local taxation is about 2.9 percent of personal income, while state taxation is 4.6 percent of personal income. Government subsidies are lower than average but have risen a touch over time, to 0.06 percent of personal income. State and local debt is much lower than average (11.4 percent of income), and government employment is much higher than average (15.2 percent of private employment). Oklahoma has managed to cut its debt even as its tax receipts fell significantly as a share of the economy.
That's great. Who cares that Oklahoma can't afford to pay teachers or provide healthcare to the sick and poor, we have low taxes! Freedom! Now if only we had a stable economy and high-paying jobs, we'd be unstoppable.