After the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board made a historic vote, 462 non-violent inmates have been released throughout the state on commuted sentences on Monday, November 4. This is considered the largest one-day prison release in United States history.
On Friday, November 1, 527 inmates had their sentences commuted; however, 65 of those inmates have detainers and won’t be released until a later time. The move is geared toward the state’s prison reform efforts by reducing overcrowded prisons and helping low-level offenders avoid serious penalties including prison time.
This historic moment started in 2016 after Oklahoma voters passed SQ 780, which makes simple drug possession a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. In addition, offenders who are currently serving felony convictions for simple possession were given the opportunity to have their sentences commuted.
The state Pardon and Parole Board then passed HB 1269 this past legislative session to fulfill the will of the people. Last week, loved ones of inmates and organizations pleaded with the board to approve the commuted sentences.
The following are several facts about the hundreds of inmates who had their sentences commuted:
- The average age is nearly 40 years old
- Inmates consisted of 75 percent males and 25 percent of women
- Inmates have been imprisoned for an average of three years
- Inmates were released with an average of 1.34 years left on their sentence
Before the mass releases, Oklahoma’s incarceration rate was one of the highest in the nation, leading the entire world in citizens jailed. The state anticipates saving approximately $11.9 million in prison costs on average.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections hosted its first “transition fairs” for inmates at 28 facilities throughout the state. In attendance were over 200 people form 45 state agencies, nonprofits, and community partners to offer services to inmates sentences get their lives back on the right track.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Oklahoma, the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. understands can review your case and determine your legal options in order to help you get your charges reduced or your case dismissed altogether. Furthermore, we offer expungement services for individuals who wish to have their criminal record sealed, so they can honestly say they have never been convicted of a crime.
For more information about our legal services, contact ustoday at (866) 590-8173 and schedule a free meeting.