Lynnkisha, Patrina, Santana, and Tess
In November 2016, Oklahoma reclassified drug possession and certain theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. This change means that these offenses are no longer eligible for a state prison sentence. However, SQ 780 only applied prospectively, meaning those already serving sentences for 780 offenses were not eligible for relief under the new law.
To ensure people were not left behind, the Oklahoma legislature passed HB 1269, a bill that allowed people currently in prison for SQ 780 offenses to apply for expedited commutation and record expungement.
In November of 2019, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to recommend the commutation of sentences for hundreds of these Oklahomans. Governor Stitt promptly signed these commutations allowing 462 Oklahomans (a total of 1,931 years commuted) to be released and reunited with their families and communities.
See some of the stories of those who can now be reunited with their families.