Kevin Stitt making moves to improve prison conditions.

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Kevin Stitt making moves to improve prison conditions.

Photo of prison in McAlester, Oklahoma

Photo of prison in McAlester, Oklahoma

photo provided

Photo of prison in McAlester, Oklahoma

photo provided

photo provided

Photo of prison in McAlester, Oklahoma

Chad Synan, North Staff Writer

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In recent days, newly elected governor Kevin Stitt has been making strides to introduce prison reform in Oklahoma. Witnessing the rise of Oklahoma to the second place position of states with the highest incarceration rate, as well as the dominance of a static Pardon and Parole Board who adheres to the “lock em up” mentality of old, Stitt has started by appointing three new members to the Board- of which, there are only five. This, it must be understood, marks a profound shift from that of his predecessor, Mary Fallin.

Under the Fallon government, prisons rose to one hundred and twelve percent capacity in 2016; and in the same year female incarceration increased to 149/100,000- the highest in the nation. Stitt, straight from the get-go, has taken great strides, considering his brief time in office, to limit the incarceration of nonviolent offenders. Considering that prison sentences are meant to be delivered to the members of society who cannot be easily re-integrated, it seems crucial that the Governor attempt to circumvent the imprisonment of, albeit criminal, relatively harmless individuals.

For instance, one of his appointees, Adam Luck, has introduced the idea that the amount required to deliver a thief a felony charge should be raised from $500 to $1,000. Also, among these new appointees are Kelly Doyle and Robert Gilliland, both renown for their efforts to aid those caught in dire straits, whether it be as a trial attorney or by working with newly free inmates.

Overall, it appears that Stitt is attempting to take steps in a positive direction, improving the lives of inmates both before and after they’ve started serving their sentence.

If you have any questions about his platform or questions about the future of prison reform in Oklahoma, feel free to email [email protected] for more information!

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