Criminal Justice and Corrections

House Committee

Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections

Committees News & Announcements

Jan 22, 2024
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Rick West Bill Would Strike Resident Alien Status from CLEET Eligibility

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, this year will again pursue legislation that would remove the ability of the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) to certify as a peace officer any person with permanent resident alien status. West filed House Bill 1026 in 2023, and the bill passed the House Criminal Justice Committee but was not heard on the House floor. It is still eligible for consideration during the Second Regular Session of the 59th Legislature. Anyone certified prior to Nov. 1, 2023, would not be subject to the provisions of the amended act. "It's my belief, shared by many in my House district, that those who apply to enforce the laws of our state should be permanent citizens" West said. "This is just a common-sense amendment to better protect the rights of Oklahomans." Established in 1963, CLEET supports Oklahoma law enforcement by providing education and training. The council also provides education and licensing to private security, private investigations and bail enforcers in the state. CLEET-certified peace officer cadets can go on to work for municipal, county or state law enforcement agencies, where they might perform work from conducting traffic stops to criminal investigations and more. Certification also includes firearms training. Sen. Hamilton, R-McCurtain, is the Senate author of the measure. The bill will be eligible for consideration during the upcoming legislative session, which starts Feb. 5.

Jan 19, 2024
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Humphrey Responds on Gang Legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, today responded to critics of legislation he filed that targets Hispanic gang members in an attempt to protect Oklahomans from illegal activity by Mexican and other drug cartels that have brought fentanyl and other illegal drugs into the state and that perpetuate other illegal activity such as sex and labor trafficking. House Bill 3133, as it is currently worded, states that any person who is of Hispanic descent living within the state of Oklahoma; is a member of a criminal street gang as such term is defined in state statutes; and has been convicted of a gang-related offense enumerated in state statute shall be deemed to have committed an act of terrorism and will be subject to property forfeiture. Humphrey said he hadn't considered the language offensive, but after consulting with others, he intends to change the measure to read something along the lines of anyone involved in a transnational criminal organization that includes documented and known gang affiliation. "My recently filed House Bill 3133 has received massive criticism," Humphrey said. "The indignation seems to be over the use of the word Hispanic. It appears that calling out the Mexican cartel or Hispanic gangs has become racist. "Border agents and narcotics agents have advised there are two Mexican Cartels – the Sinola and New Age Cartels – that are primarily responsible for the horde of drugs and fentanyl that is destroying and murdering thousands of Americans. "When we see a plane fly into a building killing 3,000 people, we recognize that as an act of terrorism. But when a reported 107,000 people are illegally slain with illegal fentanyl, we remain silent and take no action. America has seen more people dying from fentanyl overdose in one year than American military members killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. Yet, our government has not declared this an act of war or an act of terrorism. We have not declared these cartels or the gangs they employ as terrorists. "House Bill 3133 seeks to rectify the government’s indefensible failure. The bill seeks to identify, classify and punish these horrific terrorists. "I have been shocked that America is being invaded and undergoing acts of terrorism resulting in at least 107,000 peoples' deaths, and yet the public’s outrage is aimed at me for simply declaring the groups that are mainly responsible are Hispanic. When I declared Mexican cartels are Hispanic, there was moral outrage and accusations of racism. I believe these continual accusations of racism present an indisputable danger to America freedom and democracy. United we Stand; divided we fall. "While I am not moved by unwarranted accusations of racism, I do admit a valid point that House Bill 3133 should not be limited to just Mexican cartels. I have agreed to change the bill and am working with narcotics' experts to provide better language. I will remove the word Hispanic and replace it with something like transnational criminal organization to include documented and known gang affiliation. "Hearing from everyone and adapting bill language is how good legislation is formed."

Jan 5, 2024
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Humphrey Calls for Investigation of Dept. of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, today called for an independent investigation of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to address his claims of an increase in violent assaults against inmates and staff. Humphrey chairs the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee. "The Department of Corrections within the past year has seen an increase in violence against inmates and staff," Humphrey said. "Stabbings, assaults and rapes appear to have become a near daily occurrence. I am receiving multiple reports, like an inmate being tied up for approximately 12 hours and raped repeatedly. Another report is of inmates entering an employee’s office and repeatedly stabbing an inmate in front of that employee. "The reports of inmates or employees being attacked, beaten or stabbed have been overwhelming. The most recent attack was a video of an inmate attack at the Dick Conner Correctional Center shown on an Oklahoma City television station. "It is my understanding that inmates videoed this attack and sent the video to the station director and the assaulted inmate's family members. "I'm left asking how this can happen. When inmates become so bold that they will video their assault and mail that video to the family and director of a news station, then Oklahoma has lost control of its prison system. "If this report is true, it clearly demonstrates the administration’s catastrophic failure. The Department of Corrections cannot be trusted to investigate themselves. It is time Oklahomans demand a proper investigation into the numerous reports and allegations involving our Department of Corrections." Humphrey said this is just the latest of bad news he's received about the department. In his three years as chair of the Oklahoma House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, he said he's been instrumental in exposing a massive staff shortage as well as money that was obscured in the department's budget. He's also investigated whistleblower claims of the department covering up rapes and other crimes. "Staff shortages and coverups place those within our prison system – both staff and inmates – in tremendous danger," he said. Humphrey said his reporting of the staff shortage revealed the department had been overpaid by at least $43 million, which was initially concealed within the department's budget. Because of the revelation, he said he and others were able to ensure the $43 million went to pay for staff raises – all without the need to increase taxes or state appropriations. "This does not appear to be the total amount of funding being obscured, however," Humphrey said. "Oklahoma has closed prisons and has reduced the inmate population by approximately 6,000. Common sense would suggest significant savings. At the same time, the staff shortage has been reoccurring for years. Based on my calculations, the Department of Corrections should have undisclosed millions." Humphrey said he also reported a whistleblower’s claim that the department was covering up rapes. Despite two court opinions that agreed the whistleblower was wrongfully terminated, he said, and his own investigation before House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, he said the Department of Corrections and the state's attorney general have yet to take actions to reinstate the whistleblower or to investigate the rapes. Humphrey also said he learned that inmates were being held in two-by-two-foot cells for days while reportedly being denied food, water and bathroom facilities. He said he received documentation that inmates were treated this inhumane way as a form of punishment. Despite very clear documentation, he said the Department of Corrections claims it was done to move inmates from cells and that inmates were not held in the small spaces for more than three days. "If proven the department treated inmates in this manner and that the department intentionally ignored rapes, then unquestionably this would constitute civil rights and human rights violations," he said. Humphrey plans to ask any investigators to also examine whether executive employees were wrongfully fired and replaced with inexperienced associates of the director. He also wants an examination of the director's training, experience and education to ensure it is commensurate with corrections work and that it warrants a $90,000 raise he said the current director recently received. "It is my understanding this would bring the director’s pay to approximately $275,000 per year. I understand $275,000 is nearly equivalent to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice director who I believe has a nearly $4 billion larger budget, has tens of thousands more inmates and has decades of correctional experience, training and education," Humphrey said. On a final note, Humphrey said he received recent reports that the Department of Corrections found an extra $8 million in its budget, which it used to provide Christmas bonuses for employees. "However, without notice, the department changed their evaluation process and many employees who had received good evaluations for years were told they did not meet standards and were denied the bonus," Humphrey said. "This seems extremely scandalous when you consider the qualifications of the director and the fact that he received a $90,000 raise this year."

Committee Members



Justin Humphrey


District 19

Vice Chair

David Hardin


District 86

Jared Deck


District 44

John Kane


District 11

Kevin West


District 54

Danny Williams


District 28

House Staff Assigned

Brad Wolgamott

Director of Research

Grace Shelton

Deputy Chief Counsel

Robert Flipping

Fiscal Policy Analyst