Gov. Kevin Stitt has approved commutations for 452 Oklahoma inmates, with 404 approved to time served and set for release on Thursday.
"We’ve been working diligently with the Pardon and Parole Board to safely reduce the prison population amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stitt said in a statement. "In these unprecedented times, we must take action while safeguarding our Department of Corrections staff, inmate population and the public."
The move drew praise from a prominent criminal justice reform advocacy organization, which has joined several other groups in pushing Stitt to release as many prisoners as possible during to prevent prison outbreaks of COVID-19.
"Corrections staff and rural hospitals are especially vulnerable during this COVID-19 health crisis and we applaud the governor’s actions. This move will save lives, reconnect families and further reduce Oklahoma’s incarceration rate," said Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform Executive Director Kris Steele.
Of the 452 commutations, 81 are from a December docket, and 371 are from a March docket.
State officials are recommending inmates self-quarantine for a period of 14 days if they’re being released from a facility with a known case. The Oklahoma State Department of Health is also working with the Department of Corrections to provide COVID-19 tests to anyone who needs one.