OKLAHOMA CITY – It seems that several inmates who were serving sentences for non-violent offenses will be home in time for Christmas.
On Thursday, Gov. Mary Fallin commuted the sentences of nine inmates who were incarcerated for 10 years or more for offenses that now carry either no prison term or a significantly shorter prison term.
The governor commuted eight of those sentences to time served, which means those inmates should be released from custody on Friday. One other inmate’s sentence was commuted from 21 years to 10 years, making him eligible for parole next year.
“I have reviewed these applications carefully, with the public safety of our citizens a key consideration,” said Fallin. “Based on the will of the voters and legislators, I cannot think of any reason why these eight people should remain in prison. It’s not good policy and it’s not good for Oklahoma. These Oklahomans are going to be better served out of prison with their families, in treatment, and getting back in the workforce as taxpayers.”
Their applications were handed to the governor after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to give them a second chance.
"Commutation is an appropriate legal remedy for people who are facing excessive, unjust sentences. The sentences today were excessive. They were unjust. We had people facing life sentences for drug offenses that today would carry little to no prison time,” John Estus, with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform told News 4 earlier this month.
The inmates who had their sentences commuted are as follows:
- Kenneth Miller
- Jennifer Gillette
- Amber Kirk
- Ryan Allen
- Terry Elkins
- Michael King
- Exiquio Gonzalez
- Rodrico Brooks
- Joseph Burrow.
Earlier this month, Fallin commuted the sentences for 21 inmates.
“With all due respect to Santa, Governor Fallin gave the 30 best holiday gifts in Oklahoma this year. Three weeks ago, these Oklahomans were in prison preparing to spend the holidays separated from their families and children. Now they are headed home,” said Estus. “Our goal now is to make SQ 780 retroactive next year and reunite more people, who wouldn’t be in prison today under current law, with their families.”