DOC enacts plan to reduce prison overpopulation - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

DOC enacts plan to reduce prison overpopulation

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OK (KSWO)- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is enacting a plan to reduce the state's over-capacity prison population.

Under the new plan, up to 1,400 prisoners in the state will be able to serve out the remainder of their sentences under community supervision -- meaning they stay at their homes, or in a halfway home.

Those slated for the program have 18 months or less left on their sentence. But many of them are also convicted of violent crimes like child abduction, accessory to murder and assault and battery.

That doesn't sit well with Representative Scott Biggs of Chickasha.

“It's absolutely insulting we have executives stand up here saying we support law enforcement all day long while they're trying to let out people who seek to do harm,” Biggs says the plan jeopardizes public safety and is a slap in the face to victims across the state.

Rep. Biggs released the following statement regarding the proposal:

 “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.

 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.”

The DOC says the plan will go into effect in October and stresses that it is not an early release program for the prisoners will be finishing their sentences.

Oklahoma prisons are currently at 109 percent capacity with over 63,000 inmates currently housed.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved. 

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