State Rep. Scott Biggs, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections, sent a survey to 150 individuals across the state asking respondents to list which specific crimes should be considered violent or nonviolent.
Biggs said individuals receiving the survey include those who have been outspoken or particularly engaged in criminal justice reform. He said survey results would be used in an interim study he is preparing on the issue as well as to help change or craft legislation dealing with criminal justice reform in the future.
“I am completely in favor of responsible criminal justice reforms that help rehabilitate and restore Oklahomans to their families and the work force,” said Biggs, R-Chickasha. “What I am unabashedly against are reckless reforms that would endanger the lives of our law-abiding citizens by reducing punishments and putting hardened, violent criminals back in our communities where they pose a threat to our public safety.”
Biggs, a former prosecutor, said the governor and other reform advocates have lobbied for legislation that would lower sentences for domestic abuse, hate crimes, child trafficking, and other violent crimes that would endanger the public.
Biggs said the survey lists what he believes to be every felony in Oklahoma statutes. He said the survey gives respondents three options for each crime: violent, danger to the public and nonviolent.
“There are no wrong answers,” he said. “I ask the respondents to simply list the option they feel best describes the crime.”
As for the danger-to-the-public category, Biggs said these are crimes that may not be violent by definition but still pose a danger to the public, such as a sex offender driving an ice cream truck, for instance.
Biggs asked those receiving the survey to return them within a month. He expects the results to be compiled by the end of October in time for his interim study.