Nearly 500 Inmates Released from Prison Making U.S. History
It’s a historic day for Oklahoma and the country. Children are being united with their parents and family are being restored as nearly 500 inmates are being released from prison Monday.
It is believed to be the country’s largest-ever day of commutations — all of this is part of the state’s criminal justice reform.
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board approved the commutations Friday and forwarded them to Gov. Kevin Stitt, a former mortgage company CEO who was elected in 2018. The board voted unanimously to recommend that the sentences of 527 state inmates be commuted, with 462 of those inmates slated to walk out of prison Monday and 65 others being held on detainer.
“With this vote, we are fulfilling the will of Oklahomans,” Steve Bickley, executive director of the board, said in a statement Friday. “However, from Day One, the goal of this project has been more than just the release of low-level, nonviolent offenders, but the successful re-entry of these individuals back into society.”
Stitt, a Republican, has advocated for criminal justice reform, pledging to move away from policies that have made Oklahoma the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country. At a news conference Friday, Stitt hailed the decision to give hundreds of Oklahomans “a second chance.”
Of the hundreds of inmates who had their sentences commuted:
— The average age is 39.7 years old
— 75% are men, and 25% are women
— They had been incarcerated for three years
Oklahoma news station, KOCO 5 spoke with Lana Lemus, one of the 13 inmates released Monday from Kate Barnard Correctional Center in Oklahoma City.
“Ecstatic! It’s the great thing that the governor is doing so we can be home with…