Nearly half a thousand prisoners in Oklahoma will be released ahead of time
According to HB1269, 450 convicted of minor crimes will be released from prison on Monday.
This initiative has been developed over the past three years, when Oklahoma residents proposed mitigating the punishment for low-level drug and property crime offenders. Back in May, the bill was passed by state authorities.
"These are real people with real lives and real families and real friends, and now they get to go home," Oklahoma Rep. Jon Echols said a press conference Friday.
Being the record holder in terms of imprisonment in the United States, the Oklahoma authorities decided to weaken the policy of punishment and at the same time “unload” prisons. At the end of 2018, for every 100 thousand inhabitants of the state there were more than one thousand prisoners. But according to bill HB1269, by the end of 2019, the authorities intend to release more than 2 thousand people.
Also, the innovation will help save almost $ 12 million from the state budget. At the moment, prisoners are being helped to get a driver’s license and get a job to prevent relapses.
"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.
According to official information, more than 70 percent of prisoners were convicted under articles falling under the new bill. Accordingly, under this initiative, the authorities are going to release more than 30 thousand prisoners.