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Governor urges prison policy change

Jul 6, 2015 | by Lynn Powell

Gov. Mary Fallin has told the state Board of Corrections to amend its policy in a way that could allow some of Oklahoma’s most serious offenders to get out of prison months earlier.
In a gubernatorial memorandum released Monday, Fallin makes a case that state corrections officials have not implemented changes made by the Legislature in 1999 regarding how inmates accumulate good behavior credits that allow them to leave prison earlier.
Under present corrections policy, those convicted of the most serious crimes _ those offenses that require an inmate to serve 85 percent of the sentence _ corrections officials have required that no early release credits can be accumulated until these people reach that 85 percent threshold.
However, the governor says the law only requires that inmates serve 85 percent of their sentence. They should be able to accumulate these credits throughout their sentence.
Under present policies, many of these inmates end up serving 90 to 93 percent of their sentences.
Officials with the governor’s office say that making the policy change could help with the state’s severe problem of prison overcrowding and could provide better incentives for offenders to practice good behavior and seek self improvement during the course of their incarceration.

Gov. Mary Fallin has told the state Board of Corrections to amend its policy in a way that could allow some of Oklahoma's most serious offenders to get out of prison months earlier.

In a gubernatorial memorandum released Monday, Fallin makes a case that state corrections officials have not implemented changes made by the Legislature in 1999 regarding how inmates accumulate good behavior credits that allow them to leave prison earlier.

Under present corrections policy, those convicted of the most serious crimes _ those offenses that require an inmate to serve 85 percent of the sentence _ corrections officials have required that no early release credits can be accumulated until these people reach that 85 percent threshold.

However, the governor says the law only requires that inmates serve 85 percent of their sentence. They should be able to accumulate these credits throughout their sentence.

Under present policies, many of these inmates end up serving 90 to 93 percent of their sentences.

Officials with the governor's office say that making the policy change could help with the state's severe problem of prison overcrowding and could provide better incentives for offenders to practice good behavior and seek self improvement during the course of their incarceration.

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