Corrections Reform

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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The state of Oklahoma plans to release hundreds of prisoners Monday after their sentences were reduced by the state's Pardon and Parole Board. 462 state prisoners could be sent home, which would represent the nation's largest single day commutation.

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 Attorney General's announcement saying despite a Tenth Cicuit ruling, women in Oklahoma don't have the right to go topless, also the AG's cease and desist order against at-home rape kit companies he says aren't admissable in courts and a bipartisan group of lawmakers come out in support of a California law allowing college athletes to get endorsements like the pros.

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 announcement by Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson to retire from the position effective at the end of next year, AG Mike Hunter announces the state is hiring a Michigan law firm for $250,000 to deal with tribal gaming compacts and the Department of Corrections locks down state prisons after gang-related violence kills one inmate and injures dozens of others.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about Epic Virtual Charter School calling for an investigation of State Senator Ron Sharp over "defamation" of the institution, Oklahoma still ranks second in the number of uninsured people in the state and more people are getting recommendation for commutations and paroles.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and sitting in for Ryan Kiesel is ACLU Oklahoma Director of Policy and Advocacy Nicole McAfee. They discuss the call by Governor Stitt to remove Glen Johnson as Higher Education Chancellor, a claim by QuikTrip of an increase in property thefts since State Question 780 was passed by voters and the Cherokee Tribe pointing to a nearly 200 year old treaty in calling for representation in Congress.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a bill signed by Governor Stitt which he had originally vetoed giving patients the right to choose their own pharmacy provider and lawmakers pass a measure putting restrictions on the powers of the Attorney General over settlements.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

This session was far less contentious than last session in part because lawmakers were working with a budget surplus. Oklahoma teachers didn’t stage any walkouts, but education was still a dominant topic.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a row in a Senate committee over a gubernatorial nomination for Finance Secretary as worry grows concerning executive power over state agencies, criminal justice advocates worry about a former corrections reform opponent working on Stitt's team and the House opens an investigation against a Republican lawmakers leveled by the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party.

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