More than 400 inmates across Oklahoma were being released from prison Monday in what the governor’s office calls the largest single-day mass commutation in the nation’s history.
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.”