Oklahoma: Stitt to Commute 2000 Sentences Before End Of 2019

Oklahoma: Stitt to Commute 2000 Sentences Before End Of 2019

Governor Stitt hopes to commute over 2000 sentences before the end of 2019. The governor made the statement speaking about the first round of commutations last Friday. The commutations are due to take place in stages over the next few months.

“By the end of this year, we are anticipating we will have about 2,000 empty beds in our system,”

Gov. Kevin Stitt (R)

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board recommended commutations for 527 inmates. The historic move was the largest single-day commutation in state and national history. Oklahoma incarcerates more people per 100k residents than any other state in the country. Because of these commutations though the state has moved to the number 2 spot.

400 inmates were released for which the state is estimated to save around $12 million dollars. The goal is to release over 2000 inmates before the end of the year. These commutations come after the passage of State Question 780. The 2016 measure that made some nonviolent offenses that were felonies misdemeanors. Because of the State question lawmakers passed HB 1269. The law makes the 2016 prevision retroactive.

The inmates received help obtaining a driver’s license or state ID prior to release. They’re holding re-entry fairs to connect offenders with programs that will help them reenter society and be successful.

Will crime spike due to this?

Not likely, at around 21% Oklahoma has some of the lowest recidivism rates in the United States. The national average sits at somewhere north of 45%. Experts think this is due to the fact that Oklahoma incarcerates more low-risk nonviolent offenders who aren’t likely to re-offend.

My Thoughts

The need for this type of reform was sorely needed. For a state, the size of Oklahoma to compete for the highest number of incarcerated should be seen as a blight on this amazing state. Ministries and other groups have stepped up in a big way to help integrate these people back into society. There’s still more work to do but this was a big beautiful step toward getting closer to being right on crime not just tough.

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