The Department of Public Safety released six inmates under these new criteria and is considering about 500 more. The Justice Minister explained that his Ministry is expecting to refer drug addicted inmates for rehabilitation under a proper plan. The state said it expects to have around 2,000 empty prison beds by the end of the year. "If we work together the way that we worked on this bill," Democratic state Rep. Jason Dunnington said, "we can accomplish big things. Apr 7, 2020. The policy change means if they aren’t released on parole, a lot of his clients won’t be freed as soon as they previously thought. Inmates will continue to have sentences reduced as long as the public health emergency remains in effect. On April 16th, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine authorized the early release of 105 people from state prison who are nearing the end of their sentence. On April 17th, he commuted the sentences of 7 people in Ohio state prisons. Ethan Shaner, the deputy general counsel for the Attorney General’s Office wrote in an informal letter that state law and Department of Corrections policy require credits to be awarded when prisoners complete programs with specific goals. House Bill 1269, which just took effect after it was passed in May by the state legislature, was designed to limit prison time for low-level drug and property crime offenders. Quinton Chandler The Department of Corrections believes the long-standing practice isn’t legal. The agency projects the policy change will increase its prison population by 3.6% in two years and to a lesser extent with each new year. StateImpact Oklahoma is a collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU. ... 2020; Oklahoma Hospital Association presents student award December 22, 2020; Stitt said making sure the released inmates have a place to sleep and a job to work is they key to making sure they stay out of the prison system. The beginning of a possible system-wide spread. ", "Today," he added, "we are implementing the will of the people. “But I had never really known that it was viewed as potentially problematic. There are several requirements dictating what prisoners can do to earn credits. So far in 2020, the population is dropping by about 88 inmates per week. The state’s prison population has trended downward since October 2018, when 27,262 people were in DOC custody, with much of the decline coming this year. Oklahoma’s corrections officials, lawmakers, and policymakers should work with the Governor’s office and the Parole Board to expedite releasing as many aging and immunocompromised inmates as possible, provided that these individuals do not pose an immediate risk to public safety. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board reviewed the cases of 814 inmates and recommended 527 to Governor Kevin Stitt. Washington, who was incarcerated in the ’70s and helps inmates with legal paperwork, joined a small crowd outside of the Department of Corrections Oklahoma City headquarters on Dec. 11, 2020, to protest prison conditions. State prisons in California may give early release to some of the state’s 123,000 convicts. “Oklahoma criminal law is written very aggressively and strictly to prevent the Department of Corrections from releasing inmates before their sentences are completed,” spokesman Justin Wolf told The Frontier in September. Similar to a typical job fair, inmates could get a state ID or a driver's license, advice on housing or educational opportunities or explore career opportunities. Among those scheduled for release on Monday are 72 women, 11 of whom already have received their Oklahoma driver's license or state ID card. Sixty-five of them will remain in prison because of warrants against them in other cases. Officials said other inmates … © 2011-2020 Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, Task Force for the Study of State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives. The Oklahoma parole board considered the cases of 814 inmates and recommended commutation for 527 inmates. Currently, the BOP has ---inmates … A policy that gave Oklahoma prisoners time off their sentences for good behavior and completing reentry programs has been canceled. DEC 24, 2020 - More than a half-dozen inmates granted release under the state’s new administrative parole process were convicted of crimes including sexual solicitation of a minor, indecent exposure and failing to register as a sex offender. Several other methods of earning credits, such as securing a birth certificate and a social security card also don’t qualify anymore. Quinton is an Oklahoma native who started his radio career with KOSU Public Radio in 2011. The first 3,500 inmates were freed in April to create space in crowded prisons and 6,900 more were deemed eligible for release in early July, totaling 10,400 releases. The move could lead to the early release of more than 2,000 inmates, NJ.com reported. In 2019, Oklahoma’s prison population decreased by an average of 35 inmates per week. OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Oklahoma Gov. Since the release of the Attorney General's original memo to the Bureau of Prisons on March 26, 2020 instructing us to prioritize home confinement as an appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BOP has significantly increased its placement of offenders on home confinement. ", 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. Catch up on the developing stories making headlines. “Literally every client who was getting good credits before, which is pretty much every one of our clients, is no longer getting them,” he said. Glen Blake says this will be a hard reality for his clients to face. The corrections agency now says good behavior credits adopted in 2009 and reentry credits adopted in 2016 aren’t among them. Early release dates for Oklahoma prisoners just got pushed back The prison population is now projected to grow an additional 3.6% in 2 years. Educational programs are one way prisoners earn credits to take time off their sentences. Michael Washington holds a sign with the number of an inmate who was infected with COVID-19. "Having an official state ID or driver's license is a huge hurdle for many former inmates as they try to integrate into society after prison," the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said in a statement. "We all came together, and worked toward, to conduct a very thorough review process to ensure that those eligible for this commutation were actually in line with what the intent and the will of the people were," Stitt said Friday. He has high blood pressure, asthma and is pre-diabetic, and she worries he's especially vulnerable as an inmate in Colorado, where outbreaks in prisons are raging.Prisons across the U.S. have been hit hard by COVID-19. Since March, the population at New Jersey’s correctional facilities has decreased by about 16 percent. The Department of Corrections legislative agenda is decided by the state Board of Corrections. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? DEC 16, 2020 - DENVER (AP) — Amber Johnson is terrified her 63-year-old father will get the coronavirus. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News Oklahoma inmates tense as prisons become COVID-19 hotbeds ... the state board in charge of recommending prisoners for early release is straining against legal restrictions as it … The first 3,500 inmates were freed in April to create space in crowded prisons and 6,900 more were deemed eligible for release in early July. The agency reached the conclusion after its legal counsel asked the state Attorney General’s Office for help. (MORE: Prisons are becoming intelligence goldmines for US law enforcement), (MORE: Correctional officer suicides in 2019 tied for most in single year: Union president), according Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO. The board is scheduled to meet next on November 18. “It’s rewarding positive behavior, you know what I mean,” he said. Hundreds of prisoners in Oklahoma are scheduled to be released Monday after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board on Friday commuted the sentences of more than 450 inmates. He said the good conduct and reentry credits didn’t meet those requirements. They are getting out about 16 months early on average. As COVID-19 cases spread though the state’s prisons, some older inmates and their family members have pleaded with Colorado Gov. Before joining StateImpact, Quinton spent three years reporting in South Central and Southeast Alaska. But as of Nov. 25, only 62 inmates were released solely because of their medical conditions, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Kevin Stitt approved more than 400 commutations last week, leading to the release of 111 inmates. Oklahoma ranks ninth in inmate coronavirus cases and 16th in cases per 10,000 inmates, according to data compiled by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press. "More than 450 Oklahomans are getting a second chance.". Prisoners attend a graduation ceremony at Dick Conner Correctional Center. County officials want input on early inmate release Coronavirus. Most of the state’s prisoners qualified for the good conduct credits as long as they didn’t break the rules. He adds that the new policy isn’t retroactive – prisoners who already earned time off for good behavior and for participating in reentry programs before November 1 won’t lose those credits. This order is one of the many preventative measures put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to staff and inmates. Reentry programs are designed to help prisoners get ready for life after prison. This is a big deal and this is an exciting time.". “I feel like that’s got to have a positive impact on people, right?”. Because 65 of the approved inmates had retainers, 462 were released on Monday. Nationwide, one in five inmates in state and federal facilities has contracted COVID-19. Read the reports and hear the stories on NPR member stations. “Seeing that taken away is obviously disappointing,” Glen Blake said. Kevin Stitt said at a press conference that it's "an important step for criminal justice reform in our state. He says prisoners can still earn time off their sentences, just in different ways. BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– The Erie County District Attorney announced Wednesday that two inmates from the Erie County Correctional Facility, and one … By the end of the day on Friday, Echols said the state was "no longer No. Of the nearly 3,000 people released, more than 1,200 people … THAILAND: Amid the threat from the COVID-19 pandemic and as a way to solve prison overcrowding, the Justice Ministry is … Quinton loves writing, reading and has an intense relationship with his Netflix account. Inmates seeking early release must apply for commutation or medical parole through the Pardon and Parole Board. In March 2020, the COVID-19 coronavirus and its lingering threat has become a potential get out of jail card for inmates who argue its not a matter of … After receiving the letter, the Department of Corrections chose to eliminate the disputed credits. Blake is a public defender in Tulsa and he’s the lead attorney for Project Commutations which helps Oklahoma prisoners get early release. Derrald Maestas hugs his mother, Cecelia Giron, after he was released from the Utah State Prison in Draper on Tuesday Nov. 3, 2020. Of the soon-to-be released inmates, according Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO, the average age is nearly 40, with each having been in prison over the last three years. Seventeenstates have ordered the release of inmates at the state level Under the governor's order, inmates eligible for early release or home detention include those whose prison term is set to expire within the next four months and are … Inmates seeking early release must apply for commutation or medical parole through the Pardon and Parole Board. StateImpact Oklahoma reports on energy and the environment, education, health, criminal justice, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. The state said more than 900 inmates applied for an early release and that it expects to have around 2,000 empty prison beds by the end of the year. He’s a graduate of Oklahoma State University. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections posted this picture of some women that will be discharged As part of a new law with ID cards. One credit is equal to one additional day off a sentence. More than 6,700 state inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 39 have died since April. The executive order says that certain criteria must be met for early release. Early release for prison inmates considered. More than 900 inmates applied for an early release as part of the new law. "And that's a pretty special accomplishment. (April 17) In April, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt commuted the sentences of over 450 people. The people of Oklahoma kicked off this process after passing a ballot initiative to change the punishment for non-violent minor drug offenses three years ago. Catch up on the developing stories making headlines. Stitt said more than 700 inmates met with 200 volunteers to enroll in programs designed to aid with a successful reintegration. StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. ", In 2018, the Prison Policy Initiative showed that Oklahoma had the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. with 1,079 per 100,000 people. The state announced it would save $11.9 million annually due to the early-release program. “I mean, now that I see the Attorney General’s opinion, I understand where it’s coming from,” Blake said. Click here to donate online to support our journalism. “If you have a 20-year sentence for trafficking, I mean, and you don’t come up for parole, the difference between getting good conduct achievement credits and not getting good (conduct) achievement credits on a 20-year sentence is six or seven years,” Blake said. 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