criminal justice

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.

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.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

In 2016, Oklahoma voters passed two state questions intended to reduce the state’s prison population. Every year since, lawmakers have introduced bills designed to help decrease the number of people serving time.

Courtesy: Spencer Bryan / Bryan & Terrill Law

When a private citizen’s civil rights are violated by the government, typically, they have the opportunity to sue, but under a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision, that might not be the case for inmates in Oklahoma jails and detention centers.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about an awareness campaign from supporters of Medicaid Expansion as they get ready to gather signatures pending a legal challenge to their ballot initiative, Oklahoma Director of Corrections announces his retirement abruptly at a meeting Wednesday and the Pardon and Parole Board discusses implementation of House Bill 1269 which makes could reduce prison time for several Oklahomans. 

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Multiple polls show the majority of Oklahoma voters support criminal justice reforms.

Survey data commissioned by Oklahoma Public Radio stations for the Oklahoma Engaged project also suggest a majority of voters believe the state’s sentencing laws need to be reworked.

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