The biggest difference, their Governor is championing the program personally, proposing $20 million in new drug treatment spending in Oklahama, compared to Gov. Perry's recommendation today for just $14.7 million in treatment spending for much larger Texas, 90% less than what legislative studies say is necessary. As AP reported ("Henry proposes 'smart' public safety plan," Feb. 6):
Gov. Brad Henry on Wednesday proposed to expand his "Smart on Crime" program, which he said would preserve prison space for violent criminals.
Henry said he will set aside an extra $20 million in his executive budget, to be presented to the Oklahoma Legislature on Monday, to finance his program, which stresses drug courts, mental health courts, juvenile courts, drug and alcohol treatment, work programs and restitution.
"For too many years, the state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars warehousing low-level, nonviolent offenders and scrambling to find prison space for the truly violent criminals," the governor said.
"We have to be tough on crime and lock up dangerous offenders, but we need to be smart on crime, too," he added. "That means punishing low-level offenders in a more effective way that protects the public safety without giving them free room and board in a taxpayer-financed prison cell.