OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Hundreds of non-violent inmates were released Monday morning following a historic vote by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
On Monday morning, hundreds of inmates from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections were released from prison as part of what could be the largest single-day commutation in U.S. history,
In all, officials say 462 inmates are expected to be released by the end of the day.
This comes after a historic vote Friday by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, who recommended a total of 527 inmates on the HB 1269 docket for commutation.
“Today, we are implementing the will of the people. I truly believe that,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Friday.
It started back in 2016 when Oklahoma voters approved SQ 780, making simple drug possession a misdemeanor and giving offenders who were already serving felony time for those crimes a chance at freedom.
Then, the bipartisan-effort to pass HB 1269 this past legislative session, is now making that chance a reality.
“There were so many different pieces of policy coming in, and on this, we all could sit together at the table and say this matters,” Rep. Jason Dunnington (D), a co-author for HB 1269, said.
The state is expected to save $11.9 million in average prison costs once the inmates are released.
“This group of non-violent offenders are just a part of this story. By the end of this year, we are anticipating having over 2,000 empty beds in our system,” Governor Stitt said.
Stitt and his team worked hard Friday to get all of the paperwork done so those 469 inmates can be released on Monday.