- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 20, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has decided to put off revisions to its commutation procedures until its members can familiarize themselves with a recent change in sentencing policy.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1ZUUVbi ) reports the state Corrections Department recently changed the way it handles good behavior credits for inmates convicted of violent crimes.

Inmates required to serve 85 percent of their sentence now can accumulate the credits from the start of their incarceration, rather than waiting until the 85 percent mark. Under the old policy, they often had to serve more than 90 percent of their sentences.

The good behavior policy changes are expected to result in the release of 400 inmates by the end of the year.

Members of the board said Monday that they lacked understanding of the new policy and how it would affect their efforts to revise commutation procedure. Chairwoman Vanessa Price recommended staff members meet with the Corrections Department to learn more about the reforms.

Vice Chairman Patricia High said applying the credit reforms could bring a welcome reduction in the number of offenders who have pending commutation applications.

A number of other topics were discussed at the meeting, including whether the board has the authority to attach stipulations or conditions of release on offenders it approves for commutation. It often requires stipulations such as drug testing or program completion on parolees.

Attorney Kim Kakish said they can’t attach conditions that would happen after release, but they can require stipulations before release.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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