A new study shows that while Oklahoma is among the nation's leaders in putting criminals behind bars, it is less effective at utilizing probation, parole and other community-based sentencing.
The study by the Pew Center on the States was released Monday. It shows Oklahoma ranks second among the 50 states, with 55 percent of the correctional population in prison or jail.
In the last 25 years, study author Adam Gelb says the state has moved from 19th to second in terms of the percent of its correctional population behind bars.
Just as the state's correctional population has spiked dramatically over the last 25 years, so has the amount of money spent on offenders.
But with Oklahoma and other states grappling with shrinking budgets, Gelb says now could be the time for legislators and policy makers to examine alternatives to locking up offenders in expensive prison cells.
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