Oklahoma Pulls Off Largest Single-Day Sentence Commutation In U.S. History
Date:  11-05-2019

Pardon and Parole Board voted to release 527 people sentenced for possession or property crimes
From The Washington Post:

In a flurry of signatures Friday afternoon, Oklahoma moved one step closer to shucking its distinction as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the United States. On Monday afternoon, 527 people serving low-level drug and nonviolent offenses will go free in what Oklahoma lawmakers are calling the largest single-day commutation in both state and U.S. history.

The commutation is a success for criminal justice reform efforts in a state that has a long history of harsh sentencing practices and high incarceration rates. It’s also evidence of the Republican-dominated legislature’s willingness to move closer in line with the majority of voters who favor a less punitive approach. The historic commutations come amid nationwide efforts to reduce punishment of low-level crimes and move the U.S. prison system in a more rehabilitative — or at least less punitive — direction.

Criminal justice reform advocates like Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, agreed that the commutation news signaled a change but cautioned that the road ahead will be a long one. Continue reading >>>