Nearly 1,500 inmates with ‘restored credits’ released by state
DOC maintains that this is not a new policy, but simply a means of improving efficiency for a system currently about 10 percent over its capacity
By C1 Staff
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — New data shows that nearly 1,500 inmates have been freed from prison since March under an early-release system restoring “earned credits” lost due to misconduct.
The Department of Corrections maintains that this is not a new policy, but simply a means of improving efficiency for a system currently about 10 percent over its capacity, according to Tulsa World.
Prison inmates in Oklahoma can earn credits toward time served for good behavior or achievements such as earning a GED or college credit, and they can lose those credits for committing infractions.
The system, which has been around for 15 to 20 years, largely depends on paper records that are periodically reviewed by staff. Board of Corrections Chairman Kevin Gross said “we were not as efficient as we could have been in keeping track of the credits.”
Streamlining the earned-credits release process is one factor that has allowed the DOC to greatly reduce the backup of inmates awaiting transfer from county jails to prisons. Last August, it stood at 1,688, and they are now down to 184.
Backup in county jails has become pricey for the DOC in recent years, causing the agency to reimburse jails $27 per inmate per day.
One of the inmates released was Desmond La’don Campbell, a suspect in a series of sexual assaults across Tulsa in June. Campbell died in a car accident just as authorities were planning to charge him with 23 felony counts for sexual assaults across the city.
Campbell was convicted in 2006 and legally considered to have completed his prison sentence. He was released without supervision of an Oklahoma parole or probation officer.
Prison reform laws, known as the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, passed in 2012 specified that anyone in Oklahoma sentenced after November 1 of that year was to receive nine months of mandatory supervision by the DOC’s probation and parole office upon release.