Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin “did not endorse” her corrections department’s plan to begin the supervised release of some prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes, The Frontier reports. Last week, officials announced that some nonviolent offenders with less than 18 months left on their sentences and who met a number of other criteria would be considered for release. The program was touted as a way to ease the burden on a corrections system bursting at the seams. Rep. Scott Biggs called the program “reckless.”
Michael McNutt, Fallin’s press secretary, said, “The governor’s office certainly did not endorse the plan, but recognizes it to be a reaction to the challenges … in regard to managing the growing inmate population, which is at 109 percent capacity, and the lack of sufficient funding.” Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh said that the state’s prison system currently had more than 63,000 “individuals in its care,” though that figure includes 34,877 who are already on some form of non-incarcerated supervision. There were 26,871 inmates in custody as of last week. Less than a year ago, Allbaugh lamented that the prison system had just reached a record high of 61,000. The state remains shorthanded on probation and parole officers, with around 270 officers monitoring more than 34,000 offenders.