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111 Prisoners Released In Oklahoma, But Not Due To COVID-19

Oklahoma state prisons began releasing 111 prisoners Thursday by order of Governor Kevin Stitt.

Prompted by a legislative committee question, Department of Corrections director Scott Crow said the releases aren’t related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Although this is at a time when we’re looking at early releases and trying to manage our population to accommodate this crisis their releases are not directly related to COVID," Crow said.

Commutations were recommended for the prisoners by the Pardon and Parole Board before the pandemic led the governor to declare a state of emergency. But, the governor’s office released a statement last week referencing the pandemic as a motivation for the releases.

Previously, the governor's office incorrectly reported there would be hundreds more prisoners released. A total of 450 peoples’ sentences were commuted. State officials say those who aren’t scheduled for release today are receiving shortened prison sentences.

Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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