Corrections Reform

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A popular desire for reform led lawmakers to push the release of hundreds of people from Oklahoma prisons in a record commutation last year. The climactic event was born from a series of reforms that have moved Oklahoma away from the number one spot for incarceration. But, that progress might be temporary.

twitter.com/OklaDOC

Governor Kevin Stitt commuted prison sentences for 147 people Friday who were convicted of crimes that Oklahoma voters chose to make misdemeanors.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Governor Kevin Stitt gave his second State of the State Address today before a joint session of the State House and Senate for the 58th Oklahoma Legislature.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about Attorney General Mike Hunter filing a lawsuit against major opioid distributors in the state, the governor's task force on corrections reform releases its report while also asking for more time to come up with detailed plans to reduce the state's prison population and two initiative petitions to make recreational marijuana legal in the state are getting push back from the state's medical marijuana industry.

 

Nearly 500 Oklahoma prison inmates walked free on Monday, Nov. 4, in an effort by the state to lose the title of the nation's incarceration capital. Oklahoma's incarceration rate in 2018 led the nation, with 1,079 per 100,000 people behind bars, according to a report by the Prison Policy Initiative.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the resignation announcement by Oklahoma City Democratic Representative Shane Stone which could trigger a special election and voters are heading to the polls this Tuesday to decide on MAPS 4 to raise nearly $978M for 16 different projects.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about Governor Stitt's suggestion for Oklahoma to use Medicaid block grants rather than going with Medicaid expansion, an initiative petition to end certain sentencing enhancements for nonviolent offenses and the State Insurance Commissioner chooses to not enforce a law giving patients the right to choose a pharmacy provider.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Prison is not fun anymore for Warren Rawls. The 36-year-old has been in and out of prison six times, and he has decided he’s not going back. He says during a recent statewide prison lockdown he was handcuffed everywhere he went – even the shower.

Rawls is one of more than 450 Oklahomans set free in the nation’s largest single-day commutation on record.

More than 450 prison inmates behind bars for low-level and non-violent charges were released Monday across the state of Oklahoma.

It's believed these commutations mark the most prisoner releases on a single day in the history of the U.S. — the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Hundreds of Oklahomans serving felony sentences for crimes that are now misdemeanors were freed on Monday.

Voters reclassified drug possession and property crimes less than $1,000 in 2016, but the changes didn’t apply to people convicted beforehand until a new law took effect Friday. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended 527 people for commutations that day, with 462 eligible to be released Monday.

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