NFWL 2015 Conference Co-Chair Sen. AJ Griffin to Take on Juvenile Criminal Justice in OK

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
The City Sentine7

OKLAHOMA CITY – From the editor’s notebook, Cathy Costello gracefully accepted her husband’s replacement at the Oklahoma Department of Labor, AJ Griffin applauded lower incarceration rates for youthful offenders, and Anastasia Pittman led scrutiny of pre-school policies.

Early this month, Governor Mary Fallin appointed a close aide to Attorney General Scott Pruitt to an important statewide elected position.

Cathy Costello, widow of Oklahoma’s slain Commissioner of Labor Mark Costello, issued a statement shortly after Fallin announced her choice. Costello said:

“On what would be his 60th birthday, I received word that Melissa McLawhorn Houston has been appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to serve the unexpired term of my late husband Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello. The governor graciously contacted me in advance that she had decided to not appoint me as his replacement and I respect her decision.

“I believe that it is important for the people to have a strong voice as their Labor Commissioner and I am confident that the department will always strive to meet the needs of the people. Going forward, I remain committed to serving the people of Oklahoma and I look forward to working with the legislature and all of those who have supported me and our family during this ordeal to move our state forward.”

Another female conservative Republican leader, a state Senator, has touted more than a decade of work reducing incarceration of young Oklahomans.

The state office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) says between 1997 and 2013 Oklahoma’s juvenile incarceration rate decreased between 40 and 49 percent.

“That’s a significant improvement for our state, but that same study shows despite that change, we need to do a better job of getting youthful offenders on the right track, staying crime free, doing well in school and ultimately getting jobs,” said Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, who distributed the information to reporters via a recent state Senate press release.

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