criminal justice

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.

Felony murder is not your average murder. Juvenile justice advocates call felony murder laws arcane and say they unfairly harm children and young adults. Prosecutors can charge them with felony murder even if they didn't kill anyone or intend to do so. What's required is the intent to commit a felony — like burglary, arson or rape — and that someone dies during the process.

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 commutation of more than 500 prisoners in state custody, the concerns growing from law enforcement and citizens over permitless carry and the State Supreme Court listening to the challenge of a controversial alcohol distribution law.

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.

twitter.com/OklaDOC

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.

President Trump said on Friday that he knows what it's like to be treated unfairly, comparing his own experience with an impeachment inquiry in Congress to inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Trump was speaking at the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum held at the historically black Benedict College in South Carolina. The forum also featured Democrats vying for the presidential nomination, and was focused on the future of criminal justice policies.

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Some parts of criminal justice reform can feel risky. If you propose letting someone out of jail who has committed a crime, you reduce jail overcrowding, but does it put the community at risk? That’s a question Rogers County in northeastern Oklahoma has been trying to answer.

A man who served nearly three decades for a murder he didn't commit was awarded $27 million — $1 million for each year he was in prison — by a federal jury last month.

When the jury foreman read out the award, "everybody started crying and stuff like that," said Mark Schand.

Schand was convicted in 1987 of a nightclub shooting in Springfield, Mass., that killed a female bystander. In 2013, a judge considered new evidence — uncovered by the innocence organization Centurion Ministries — and let him go.

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