OK to Release Inmates To Relieve Overcrowding

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In an effort to combat Oklahoma’s increasing prison population, the state will soon allow some nonviolent prisoners nearing the end of their sentence to be released from prison under supervision, The Frontier reports. Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh told a state board that he is taking action because legislators have done little to stem the growth of the state’s record prison population. “We have to start somewhere,” Allbaugh said. “In the past, we’ve waited around for other folks in authority to help us address our population problems. The time for us waiting is over.” The state’s prison system is at 109 percent capacity, with a record 63,171 individuals either incarcerated or under supervision.

The new Community Supervision Program would allow some nonviolent, minimum-security prisoners who are within 18 months of completing their sentences to be released under GPS supervision and by a probation and parole officer. Offenders will be required to report to a probation and parole officer within five days of release, and must contact their parole officer at least twice a month. Allbaugh stressed that the program was not a “release” program that sets offenders free without supervision. About 1,400 offenders might qualify but least half of those are expected to be screened out. “It will be a slow trickle,” Allbaugh said. “We won’t be letting folks out on ankle bracelets overnight.”

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