Over the weekend, I was doing my weekly hate read of The Oklahoman editorial page and ran across this amusing piece. Apparently Mary Fallin – the governor of the state with one of the highest incarceration rates in the country – is now gallivanting around as an expert on criminal justice reform measures.
Via News OK:
A recent conference in Washington, D.C., underscored just how nonpartisan the issue of criminal justice reform is becoming — not to mention Gov. Mary Fallin’s rising profile on this issue.
Fallin was among those who spoke at an event sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law and the Coalition for Public Safety, which works to reduce the nation’s prison population. “Many states have been able to reduce imprisonment while reducing crime by ensuring that expensive prison beds are used for those who are dangerous,” said Fallin, who highlighted the toll prison takes on females and their families, and touted successful diversion programs for women.
That’s great. This is probably a good time for me to mention that I’ll be giving an address at the next Confluence Conference. The topic will be “Typos in online journalism, and how we can fix it.”
Seriously, though, unless she was explaining how to be an ineffective leader on an important issue, Mary Fallin has no business speaking to people about criminal justice reform. Oklahoma’s prison overcrowding is a problem Mary Fallin inherited, and it’s a problem that she’s failed to fix during her 7 years in office. How does that make her an expert on the topic? If anything, she should be giving speeches on how to turn out-of-state speaking engagements into taxpayer-funded mini-vacations. We can all agree she’s an expert at that.
Anyway, Mary wasn’t the only Oklahoman to recently get a questionable distinction or honor. The Association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers recently recognized State Rep. Scott Biggs – a.k.a. this guy – for his efforts “in the fight for criminal justice reform.”
The Association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers recognized Rep. Scott Biggs for his work in support of the state’s law enforcement community. It is the first time the organization has paid this honor to a legislator.
“State Rep. Scott Biggs is the best friend law enforcement has in the legislature,” said Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir. “We appreciate everything he has done in the fight for criminal justice reform. Rep. Biggs cares deeply for the victims, citizens and law enforcement. We are proud to have Scott Biggs as our representative and friend.”
Biggs is the former District Attorney for Grady County. He’s also the gatekeeper of criminal reform as the House Judiciary Committee Chairman.
Yep, the lawmaker who singlehandedly held up criminal justice legislation in the Oklahoma legislature and led efforts to overturn drug sentencing reform laws passed by Oklahoma voters, is being recognized by law enforcement groups. Even Mary Fallin has to be rolling her eyes at the absurdity of that one.