WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte released the following statement today on the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s decision to move forward with 22 of 23 commutation applicants:

“We are disappointed that one of the eligible and worthy applicants was not moved forward today. However, we are overjoyed and grateful to the Pardon and Parole Board for advancing 22 applicants to Governor Fallin for commutation and we urge her to send every one of these Oklahomans home in time for Thanksgiving.

“At the ballot box and in recent polling, Oklahomans have made clear that they don’t believe their neighbors and loved ones should be imprisoned for long periods of time for low-level drug offenses. Overly harsh sentences like these waste taxpayer dollars while failing to make Oklahoma communities any safer.

“By recommending commutation for 22 of these 23 Oklahomans, the Parole Board has agreed that long sentences for drug use are unjust and unnecessary. Now it’s time for Governor Fallin – a champion of criminal justice reforms – and the legislature to follow suit. We call on the Governor to commute these sentences to time served and we call on the legislature to make recent reforms retroactive, and to help the more than one thousand Oklahomans still in prison today for simple drug possession so that they can return home to their families and get back to work.

“We will continue to work with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform and a broad coalition of community advocates, law enforcement, and elected leaders to advance reforms that will better serve Oklahoma’s families, safeguard their tax dollars, and make Oklahoma communities safer and stronger.”