DOC Announces Early Release Program

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections Tuesday unveiled a plan to help relieve systemwide overcrowding through a community supervision program (CSP). However, the program is being called dangerous by Rep. Scott Biggs who has stifled Governor Fallin’s criminal justice reform efforts.

The DOC program would select nonviolent, minimum security offenders who have 18 months or less on their sentence to participate. The offenders would be put through a vetting program before being released. They will be fitted by GPS monitors and must stay in contact with DOC Probation and Parole. The program is slated to begin October 1.

“We have been forced to make this decision because our prisons are overpopulated, and no legislation has made the necessary changes to Oklahoma’s justice system,” said DOC director Joe Allbaugh. “We need our most basic state government functions funded. Until that happens, ODOC has to find other ways allowed under statute to manage this dire situation.”

Biggs calls the program a dangerous move by Fallin’s Administration.

“The executive branch has now moved past playing political games and on to actually endangering the public. If we want to get nonviolent people out of prison and into a program that will help rehabilitate them, I am all for it, but this proposal does the opposite,” said Biggs in a statement.

“Sixteen of the inmates being recommended for release using the governor’s metrics have been convicted of assault and battery of a police officer, 17 more for assault and battery, 6 for accessory to murder, three have been convicted of stalking, two were convicted of cruelty to animals and one endangered human life while committing arson.

“Contrary to what the governor and her supporters may think, I care very deeply about Oklahoma’s criminal justice system. I care so much that I have devoted my professional life to it. This proposal highlights exactly why I fought the governor’s most recent attempts at criminal justice reform.

“I ask that the governor tell the department of corrections what her staff has already admitted to me in meetings – their definition of violent and nonviolent crimes needs correcting. The governor has written letters and spoken at conferences about her desire to keep violent offenders in prison. To do this, she must instruct DOC to abandon this reckless proposal.”

Biggs’ statement seems to contradict DOC’s explanation of the how the community supervision program would work.

“CSP is a step in the right direction with a common-sense approach to getting inmates who don’t belong in prison out of our facilities,” Allbaugh said. “It’s a drop in the bucket. We will continue to act in the best interests of public safety, our staff and offenders while ensuring efficient use of public resources.”

DOC provided an exclusion list. Inmates who fall into any of the exclusions would not be eligible for the program.

Inmate Exclusions:

  • Consecutive sentences.
  • 85% sentences.
  • Violent crimes defined by Title 57, Section 571.
  • Sex or domestic violence offenders.
  • Drug -trafficking convictions.
  • Participants in delayed sentencing program.
  • Inmates sentenced for placement in intermediate revocation facility.
  • Participants currently in the electronic monitoring program.
  • Inmates with sentences in which the remaining balance is suspended upon successful completion of a program.
  • Cases pending judicial review.
  • Pending felony cases.
  • Active protective orders.

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