OKLAHOMA CITY —
This year, there are harsh new penalties being proposed for a variety of crimes, including influencing jurors, assaulting a teacher or removing objects from a disaster area.
Ardmore Republican Rep. Pat Ownbey's proposal to add four new prescription drugs to the list for which someone can be convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to life without parole sailed through a House committee last week with no discussion or debate.
"These are the worst of the worst who are trafficking in illegal drugs," Ownbey said. "Obviously we're not talking about catching somebody with 10 pills who's having a problem."
Oklahoma currently has 51 inmates serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for trafficking illegal drugs, and of the state's nearly 27,000 inmates, many are in for possession (10 percent) or distribution (16.5 percent) of illegal drugs, according to the most recent DOC statistics.
"What we really need is a true rewrite of Title 21, which deals with crimes and punishment," Williams said. "It's become filled with all these boutique criminal statutes, all hodgepodged together."