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Alexandria, VA – May 23, 2018 – The American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) recognized Oklahoma Senator Greg Treat (R-47th) for his work on criminal justice reform efforts in the Oklahoma legislature. Treat is the majority floor leader in the Oklahoma Senate.

The honor, ACUF’s first ever Charles W. Colson Legacy Award, was given to Treat for his “efforts to advance conservative criminal justice policies that improve public safety, ensure fiscal responsibility, and recognize that every life has value and purpose.”

Chuck Colson once famously stated, “Only a nation that is rich and stupid would pour billions of dollars into a system that leaves offenders behavior unchanged, victims needs unmet, and our communities still living in fear of crime.” Oklahoma, with its harsh penalties for non-violent offenses, has the second largest prison population in the United States. And with Louisiana enacting its own reforms just last year, the Sooner State had been on track to become the largest incarcerator in the country.

While there is much more to do in Oklahoma, this important package of reforms advanced because of the hard work put in by Sen. Treat. Signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin (R), the reforms will reduce incarceration rates for non-violent offenders and use a portion of those savings to fund anti-recidivism programs like drug and mental health treatment.

David Safavian, ACUF’s general counsel and deputy director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform (CCJR) presented Senator Treat with the award at a meeting of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform this morning. Explained Safavian, “In pushing through criminal justice reforms, Sen. Treat put his faith into action. Like Chuck Colson, he was guided by the certainty of his convictions, and refused to take anything but ‘yes’ for an answer. And because of his work, Oklahoma neighborhoods will become safer, while fewer families will have to struggle with a loved one behind bars.”

Chuck Colson and the ACU Foundation’s CCJR have a long history. Prior to becoming the director of the CCJR, ACUF’s Pat Nolan partnered with Colson at Prison Fellowship. Together, they grew the organization into a powerhouse of ideas and advocacy that still influences in today’s debate about criminal justice reform. Nolan has since made it his life mission to follow in Colson’s footsteps, helping those who can’t help themselves by advocating for conservative criminal justice reforms.

“Chuck Colson is the kind of person we all strive to be as criminal justice reform advocates,” said Nolan. “The American Conservative Union Foundation is proud to honor Senator Treat with this award for his relentless work to improve public safety, advance human dignity, and maintain fiscal responsibility. Oklahoma is blessed to have a leader like Greg Treat.”

At a time when Oklahoma had the second highest incarceration rate in the nation, the highest female incarceration rate in the country, and a ballooning budget to fund the criminal justice system, these reforms could not have come at a more critical junction. By following in the footsteps of other conservative states – Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina, to name a few – Oklahoma can now focus expensive prison beds on truly violent and dangerous offenders while providing those convicted of lower level offenses with the treatment, supervision, and rehabilitation they require to one day become productive, law abiding citizens.

The mission of the American Conservative Union Foundation is to educate Americans about conservative solutions to the country’s most pressing problems. The ACU Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform promotes policies that improve public safety, reduce government cost, and protect human dignity. Criminal Justice Reform is a high priority for ACU Foundation and it has been highlighted at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for several years. For more information, please go to our website.

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