For people serving jail time in Oklahoma for low-level drug and property crimes, they may be able to seek early release based on the nature of their crimes. A law that took effect last November directs Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board to review the sentences of prisoners affected by certain changes in the state’s laws. As a result, many prisoners are seeing early release times for drug related charges that are no longer considered felonies under today’s law.
According to USNews, more inmates saw release this week as the board recommended them for commutations. While the vast majority of the prisoners’ sentences ended up commuted to time served, 28 cases saw a reduction of their total sentencing time to one year. They can expect release once they complete their year of jail time. Out of the 147 cases that the board examined, two received a denial based on serious misconduct that occurred after the board’s recommendation.
The inmates released earlier this week were free from detainers, holds or warrants of any kind. So far, the board has denied single-stage commutation to prisoners who have registered victims on file, received a protest letter from a victim or have records of serious misconduct. Additionally, prisoners are also denied if they must register as violent or sexual offenders. Although some drug crimes may not be felonies under today’s law, Oklahoma still takes violent or sexual crimes very seriously.
People who are facing drug charges may want to speak with an attorney regarding their situation. This can provide insight into the changing Oklahoma laws including the penalties for simple drug possession crimes.