On Monday, President Trump commuted the sentences of over 450 prison inmates in Oklahoma, making it the largest single-day commutation in U.S. history.
The inmates who were released all have convictions non-serious drug and property crimes. These crimes were downgraded following a bill that was signed by new Republican Governor Kevin Stitt. The bill turned drug possession and less serious property crimes into misdemeanors.
According to AOL,
Releasing the inmates will save Oklahoma an estimated $11.9 million over the cost of continuing to keep them behind bars, according to the governor’s office.
The board last week considered 814 cases and recommended 527 inmates for commutation. However, 65 are being held on detainers, leaving about 462 inmates to be released on Monday.
“It feels amazing to be on the other side of the fence,” said Tess Harjo, a 28-year-old who was released Monday from the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma.
Harjo was sentenced to 15 years in prison after her Okmulgee County conviction last year for possession of methamphetamines. She said she was surprised at the number of women she met in prison serving long sentences for drug crimes.
“I have met many women in here who came from a medium- or maximum-security prison who have already served 18 or more years,” Harjo said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Prior to Monday, the largest single-day mass commutation was by former President Obama who commuted the sentences of 330 prisoners who were being held for drug-related crimes on his last day of office.
Drugs is a very touchy area when it comes to prison time. It’s my opinion that drugs should not be illegal. I’m not advocating for doing them by any means. I think they are terrible for the most part. But, I don’t think the government’s job is to tell Americans what they can and cannot have. This is contrary to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Maybe on that pursuit, they try drugs to get to that happy place. It’s not going to work, but they can learn that the hard way when their life is destroyed. It’s just not the role of the government to regulate what we as free citizens can have.