KGOU

Oklahoma Prisons Releasing Hundreds Of Non-Violent Offenders

Nov 4, 2019

The state of Oklahoma plans to release hundreds of prisoners Monday after their sentences were reduced by the state's Pardon and Parole Board. 462 state prisoners could be sent home, which would represent the nation's largest single day commutation.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board used a new expedited process to review hundreds of commutation applications in one meeting.

 

A 2016 voter initiative made all of this possible. It reduced penalties for drug possession and certain other drug related crimes. This year, lawmakers voted to make the change apply to people convicted in the past by allowing them to ask for commuted sentences.

On Friday, Gov. Stitt signed more commutations than President Barack Obama did when he broke his own single-day commutation record in 2017.

"This group of nonviolent offenders are just a part of the story, says Stitt. "By the end of this year, we’re anticipating we’ll have about 2,000 empty beds in our system."

The first prisoners are expected to be released later today.