WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today in support of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, as they release the first video story from the Project Commutation campaign:
“In partnership with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR), we are proud to share the story of Juanita Peralta, a mother of six who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for drug possession, even though Oklahoma voters soundly rejected locking individuals up for low-level drug-related offenses two years ago. Juanita’s story is gut-wrenching, but it’s all too common: there are women and families like Juanita all across the state whose incarceration is wasting Oklahomans’ tax dollars without making people any safer. OCJR is working tirelessly to reduce Oklahoma’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate, on Project Commutation, to seek justice for Juanita and families like hers.
“The November 7th meeting of the Pardon and Parole Board brings about an incredible opportunity to restore justice to Juanita, and we urge them to act in her favor, in accordance with the law and the will of Oklahoma’s voters.
“Ahead of the next meeting of the Board, FWD.us and OCJR will continue to share vital stories of Oklahomans serving excessive prison sentences – individuals who are deserving of both compassion and commutation, so that they can re-enter their communities and rebuild their lives.
“In addition, FWD.us will continue to work with OCJR and other in-state and national partners to push the state to adopt sentencing policies that make sense for all Oklahomans.”
Watch the video and hear Juanita’s story and follow #ProjectCommutation on social media. To learn more about Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, visit https://www.fwd.us/criminal-justice/oklahoma/.
Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform launches #ProjectCommutation Video – Juanita Peralta’s Story
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR) today launched a video featuring Juanita Peralta, one of the commutation applicants the organization is assisting through its commutation campaign. The campaign is helping Oklahomans who are in prison for offenses no longer carrying long prison terms under reforms recently approved by voters and legislators. The Pardon and Parole Board has advanced 31 individuals to Phase 2 hearings, with the first hearings scheduled for Nov. 7.
“Hundreds of Oklahomans like Juanita Peralta are still serving the type of unjust, draconian drug possession sentences Oklahoma voters roundly rejected two years ago,” said John Estus, chief of staff, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. “The Pardon and Parole Board has a historic opportunity approaching to use its authority as intended, follow the law, uphold the will of the voters and commute Juanita’s destructive, decade-long drug possession sentence. Stories like Juanita’s matter because they are shared by families all across Oklahoma who also deserve the type of restorative justice we are seeking for Juanita. We want those families to know they are not alone, and there is hope.”
The new video telling Peralta’s story can be viewed on the OCJR website at https://okjusticereform.org/project-commutation/.