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Manhattan Institute

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Overcriminalizing the Sooner State: A Primer and Possible Reforms for Oklahoma

issue brief

Overcriminalizing the Sooner State: A Primer and Possible Reforms for Oklahoma

November 17, 2016
Legal ReformOvercriminalization

Abstract

Oklahoma residents face an array of criminally enforceable rules and regulations covering ordinary business and personal conduct. These rules often place individuals in legal jeopardy for unknowingly engaging in seemingly innocuous, but nonetheless illegal, conduct. 

Key Findings

  • Oklahoma’s criminal code contains 1,232 sections—compared with 114 in the Model Penal Code—and more than 272,000 words.
  • Oklahoma has created, on average, 26 crimes annually over the last six years; 91% of these fell outside the penal code.
  • Over the last six years, lawmakers have added crimes to 21 different statutory titles covering areas ranging from professions and occupations to schools. Many of these statutes also use regulatory catchall provisions.

READ FULL REPORT

______________________

Read more about MI's Overcriminalizing America project

James R. Copland is a senior fellow and director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute. Rafael Mangual is the project manager for legal policy.

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