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RACINE - Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Rick Raemisch and Racine County Executive Bill McReynolds today announced that, as part of a state-county partnership to strengthen community safety in Racine, a local community-based organization ha... more.
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LLF: Oklahoma Laws, News and OK Courts Metro Areas
Justin Jones, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Joins Policymakers in Setting the Agenda for Criminal Justice Policies - Justin Jones joins law enforcement officials and more in a discussion to discuss important criminal justice policies.
In addition the presentation of the Angie Debo Award, ACLU members and attendees will hear an address from keynote speaker Justin Jones.
Jones is the former Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and a leading national expert in the areas of corrections and criminal justice reform.
As incarceration rates climbed, however, the definition of "inmate benefit" drifted, says Justin Jones, who was director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections until last year.
"The Legislature allowed us to broaden the definition of inmate welfare and it got to the point, almost anything they would fund through appropriations could now be paid for as inmate welfare," he says. "It ended up where we started using that money if an inmate went out to medical on an emergency and medical was end-of-year short," he says. "We bought air conditioners, ice machines, X-ray machines." Jones was not a fan of the system. If legislatures want to impose longer prison sentences or "if they create new crimes, then the legislature should appropriate dollars for that," he says.
"We want to break that intergenerational cycle of prison," said Justin Jones, former director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and chairman of the board at Little Light.
"You take a child that is disenfranchised, has the stigma of a parent being incarcerated, and you put them in a public school system with overcrowded classrooms, and they struggle," Jones said. "But here, they get very individualized attention, and I think it makes a big difference." Jones' experience as director of corrections involved working with individuals who had already entered the prison system. But he had a chance to glimpse the impact that had on families. "Watching the children [of inmates] during visitations and seeing how despondent they can be was eye-opening," Jones said. "You can see a major difference with these children at Little Light." Jones said it's too late to stem the tide of rising incarceration rates working within the prison system. Instead, the real impact is made in working with children who are statistically more likely to go to prison simply because of who their parents are and where they live. "If we are ever really going to reduce the prison rate in Oklahoma, we have to shut off the supply," Jones said. "Freedom for these children is education," Jones said.
Director, Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Justin Jones Justin Jones brings more than 35 years of criminal justice experience to his current role as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. As Director, Mr. Jones is responsible for all administrative functions relating to Department of Corrections' operations, budgeting, personnel, and training. Mr. Jones also serves as the primary contact for the Governor's Office, legislators, local law enforcement agencies, and correction agencies located throughout the United States. Mr. Jones began his career serving as a probation and parole officer with the Department of Corrections in 1977 and was appointed Director of the Board of Corrections in 2005. Mr. Jones chairs the Reentry Committee for the Association of Correctional Administrators and the Governor's Transformation Advisory Board on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. He is also the Commissioner for Correctional Accreditation for the American Correctional Association. Mr. Jones holds Bachelor's degrees in Communications and Sociology from East Central University.