Hundreds of Oklahoma inmates released in state-wide commutation

Published: Nov. 4, 2019 at 6:35 PM CST
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The largest single-day mass prison release in U.S. history took place in Oklahoma Monday, and over 400 inmates walked out of prisons across the state.

Nine inmates were released completely from the McLeod Correctional Center, and three were detained to another county.

Eight inmates were released from Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown.

Voters approved State Questions 780 and 781 back in 2016, which reclassified simple drug possession and property crimes under $1,000 as misdemeanors.

People convicted before the law chnaged did not benefit.

This year, the Oklahoma legislature decided to give those prisoners a chance to get their sentences commuted and be released early.

Of the over 800 inmates who applied for commutation, over 450 were approved.

"Five hundred and 24 people were commuted across our state today and given second chances," Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said.

Stitt signed more than 500 commutation certificates.

Most walked free, but some were transferred to county jails.

Stitt said this will save the state about $12 million.

"This is the first day of the rest of your life," Stitt said.

Interim Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Scott Crow, said they're giving inmates resources to help them find housing, get an education, and find jobs.

"It's important that we understand the work that has went in to try to help the individuals that are being released to be successful citizens, to go back to their families," Crow said.

Oklahoma's incarceration rate will drop just under two percent.

"This is an exciting and historic event for the state of Oklahoma, we are setting history," Crow said.

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