An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi

OK-CADP Awards Dinner to feature Justin Jones, former Oklahoma Department of Corrections director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (February 14, 2024)The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) will host its 32nd Annual Awards Dinner & Meeting on Saturday, May 18, at New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 12000 N. Rockwell in Oklahoma City. Registration and a wine reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m., and the program will start at 7 p.m. The event will also be available via Zoom.

The evening will feature keynote speaker Justin Jones, author and former Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC).

“Justin Jones will give us a unique perspective of the challenges prisons face in executing inmates and the trauma it inflicts on prison employees,” said Rev. Don Heath, Chair of OK-CADP. “He supervised more than 20 executions during his tenure as Warden at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.”

Jones worked for the DOC from September 1977 through 2013 in numerous capacities, including Probation and Parole Officer, Regional Director of Institutions; Deputy Director of the Division of Community Corrections, and State Director from 2005 through 2013. He served as Director of the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice (Juvenile Bureau) from 2015 through 2020. 

In 2013, Justin founded Criminal Justice Consulting LLC, which he continues to operate focusing on eighth amendment violations in prisons, jails, and detention facilities. 

The author of Tales of the Caseload and The Perils of Ms. Apple, as well asvarious published articles and editorials, Jones’ most recent novel is The Devil’s Smokehouse, which reached number one on the best seller list in Oklahoma. He describes it as “an unvarnished story of the ravages of rural poverty and an unsparing look at one boy managing to triumph against crushing odds.” 

Jones has degrees in sociology and communications from East Central University in Oklahoma. The topic of his talk that evening will be “Punishment, Revenge, or a Breach of Humanity?” 

“I will be sharing my journey of evolution concerning the death penalty along with various observations after attending 27 executions,” Jones said.

The event will feature dinner and a program during during which OK-CADP will honor members of the coalition’s community with the organization’s Abolitionist Awards.

(L-R below) Sue Hosch, OK-CADP Executive Board Member, will be given the Phil Wahl Abolitionist of the Year and Gretchen Garner Mosley, Chief of Capital Trials Division (Tulsa) at the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS), will receive the Opio Toure Courageous Advocate Award. Rev. Dr. George E. Young, senior pastor at Greater Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and a retiring state senator will be honored with the  Lifetime Abolitionist Award.

Oklahoma has executed 11 inmates since resuming lethal injections in October 2021 following a six-year moratorium after problems with drug mix-ups and a botched lethal injection in 2014. Death row prisoner Michael Dewayne Smith is scheduled to be executed on April 4 and Wade Greely Lay is scheduled for execution on June 6. Another six inmates who have exhausted all of their appeals and wait to have execution dates scheduled are Richard Norman Rojem, Emmanuel Littlejohn, Kevin Ray Underwood, Wendell Arden Grissom, Tremane Wood and Kendrick Antonio Simpson.

To support the Coalition’s mission, tickets for the OK-CADP 2024 Annual Awards Dinner & Meeting, in-person or Zoom event, are $75 adults / $25 students. Sponsorships/tables are $600 (8 tickets). Tickets are available to purchase online HERE.

To order tickets by mail, send checks along with each guest’s name to: OK-CADP, P.O. Box 713, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-0713. To participate in the Zoom event, please include each attendees’ email address.


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