Prosecutors Oppose OK Releases To Relieve Prison Crowding


Oklahoma prisons are preparing to put 250 to 300 inmates in ankle monitors and release them, and prosecutors are upset, The Oklahoman reports. The inmates, convicted of nonviolent offenses, are to be released starting Nov. 1 when a new law intended to relieve prison overcrowding goes into effect. “I suspect that many — if not most — of the legislators that voted for this didn’t realize it was going to have the result of releasing several hundred inmates on Nov. 1,” said Michael Fields, district attorney for five counties.

House Speaker Kris Steele said the goal is to increase public safety, putting more low-risk, mostly female inmates into electronic monitoring so corrections officials can focus their limited resources on inmates who are truly threats to society. Prosecutors are concerned because some nonviolent offenders will be eligible for ankle monitors after 90 days of incarceration. They said quick releases would undermine public confidence in sentences. “Then, I will stop sending people to prison for less than five years,” said Greg Mashburn, district attorney for three counties. “[ ]If I intended them to go to prison, I intended them to stay for more than 90 days.” He said ankle monitors haven’t worked well in his counties.

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