The Oklahoma House easily passed a bill that would bring about sweeping changes in the state’s prison system intended to ease overcrowding, reports The Oklahoman. The measure from House Speaker Kris Steele would change the default sentencing structure from consecutive to concurrent terms, expand eligibility for community sentencing and GPS monitoring programs, and limit the governor’s role in the parole process for nonviolent offenders.
Oklahoma is the only state that requires the governor to approve every parole after the Pardon and Parole Board submits a recommendation. The new measure would allow the board’s recommendation for nonviolent inmates to go into effect if no action is taken within 30 days of receipt by the governor. “These changes would result in the better use of taxpayer dollars, increase in public safety and more appropriate consequences for low-risk offenders,” Steele said.