We wanted to make sure that you saw this important news out of Oklahoma.
In November, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to recommend the commutation of sentences for hundreds of Oklahomans. This docket was promptly signed by Governor Kevin Stitt, which resulted in the release of 462 Oklahomans (a total of 1,931 years commuted) to be reunited with their families and communities.
“A new law on the books makes simple drug possession a misdemeanor, giving offenders already serving felony time for those crimes a chance at freedom. It’s a measure voters approved by ballot in 2016.” [Today]
“I’m very blessed to let this happen and for this to happen for me and my family, and I’m just so glad to see my family.” [CBS Evening News]
“Steve Bickley, the new executive director of the Pardon and Parole Board, said Monday’s release would be the largest since former President Barack Obama’s last act in office — he commuted the sentences of 330 federal prisoners.” [Fox News]
“Til today, Oklahoma had the nation’s highest lockup rate, with 1 in 100 residents confined at any given time. In all, more than 500 nonviolent offenders had their sentences reduced.” [NBC Nightly News]
More Oklahoma commutations coverage:
“Supporters say it is the largest single-day commutation in state and national history. They say the action will drop the state out of the No. 1 spot in the nation for incarcerations and put it second. In addition, they say it will save the state an estimated nearly $12 million a year.” [Tulsa World]
“State agencies, the governor’s office, community partners and others worked together to ensure successful implementation of the law.” [The Oklahoman]
“As she and the other prisoners left the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, they embraced relatives, some of whom they had not seen in months or years. Camera crews crowded around, recording a scene that would have been unfathomable in the state just a few years ago.” [The New York Times]
“Releasing the inmates will save Oklahoma an estimated $11.9 million over the cost of continuing to keep them behind bars, according to the governor’s office.” [AP]