YWCA Oklahoma City Board of Directors Position on SQ 805
State Question 805 is a ballot initiative on the November 3rd ballot that changes the Oklahoma Constitution and eliminates sentence enhancements for all non-violent crimes. Although we support criminal justice reform, YWCA Oklahoma City opposes SQ 805.
Proponents of SQ 805 urge that cost savings achieved by reducing our prison population could be utilized to make much needed investments in responsive social services, such as mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence services. We agree, however, there is nothing in the language of SQ 805 that directs or requires any costs savings to be earmarked specifically for those purposes.
Additionally, SQ 805 constitutionally limits the definition of violent crime to those violent crimes in effect on January 1, 2020 for purposes of sentence enhancements for repeat offenders. Last legislative session, domestic violence advocates worked tirelessly to add some domestic violence crimes to the violent crime list, including domestic violence by strangulation, but those laws will not take effect until November 1st, 2020. This means no domestic violence crimes could be utilized to enhance an offender’s sentence if SQ 805 becomes law.
YWCA OKC believes it is imperative that our State recognize domestic violence as a violent crime that substantially impacts our communities, our businesses, our families and our quality of life, and for these reasons, we made the difficult decision to oppose SQ 805.
Because we want to support all survivors of domestic violence and include all voices in how to meaningfully address criminal justice reform efforts in Oklahoma, we urge you to research the issues, educate yourself and make an informed decision when you vote in November.
Please find links both for and against SQ 805 to help provide education on the issue:
1) Policy Institute Fact Sheet listing both pro & con points