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Largest Mass Commutation In US History Taking Place In Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA (CBSDFW.COM) - Hundreds of inmates across the state of Oklahoma will be released from prisons on Monday. It's all a part of the largest single-day commutation in U.S. history.

As it stands, the Pardon and Parole Board in the state has given more than 520 favorable recommendations to offenders.

Monday's release of inmates, all with convictions for low-level drug and property crimes, resulted from a bill signed by new Republican Governor Kevin Stitt. HB 1269 retroactively applied misdemeanor sentences for simple drug possession and low-level property crimes that state voters approved in 2016.

Stitt has made reducing Oklahoma's highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate one of his top priorities and has appointed reform-minded members to the state's parole board.

The board last week considered 814 cases before recommending the commutations. However, 65 are being held on detainers, leaving about 462 inmates to be released on Monday.

To prepare for the commutation the Oklahoma Department of Corrections held job fairs to connect inmates with non-profit organizations to help them with things like housing and job placement.

It's estimated that the mass release will save the state close to $12 million in prison costs.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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