More Oklahoma inmates likely to become eligible for accelerated commutation

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Parole officials say new criminal justice guidelines will likely increase the number of Oklahoma inmates eligible for accelerated commutations.

A statewide referendum adopted in 2016 made simple drug possession a misdemeanor and increased the threshold for felony property crimes from $500 to $1,000. Legislation signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt this year makes its provisions retroactive.

State Pardon and Parole Board officials said the new law could make hundreds of inmates eligible for an accelerated commutation process when it takes effect Nov. 1.

The board voted Monday to authorize its staff to schedule an accelerated single-stage docket when it receives a list of potentially eligible inmates from the Department of Corrections.

Executive Director Steven Bickley said there were 4,020 state inmates with a simple possession charge on July 31.

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