More than 400 Oklahoma inmates walking out of prison doors


Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, left, poses for a selfie with Joy Block, right, of Tulsa, Okla., following a news conference to announce that Oklahoma will release more than 400 inmates after the board approved what they say is the largest single-day mass commutation in U.S. history, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Oklahoma City. Block is the founder of Walters Way Regaining Your Life Foundation, a Tulsa re-entry program for offenders. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 400 inmates are walking out the doors of prisons across Oklahoma as part of what state officials say is the largest single-day mass commutation in U.S. history.

Monday’s release of inmates, all with convictions for low-level drug and property crimes, resulted from a bill signed by new Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt. The bill retroactively applied misdemeanor sentences for simple drug possession and low-level property crimes that state voters approved in 2016.

Stitt has made reducing Oklahoma’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate one of his top priorities and has appointed reform-minded members to the state’s Pardon and Parole Board.

The board last week considered 814 cases and recommended 527 inmates for commutation. However, 65 are being held on detainers, leaving about 462 inmates to be released on Monday.

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