More than 450 nonviolent inmates were released from prisons in Oklahoma on Monday, part of the largest mass commutation in U.S. history.
On Friday, Oklahoma commuted the sentences of 527 inmates, and all but 65 walked free on Monday; the inmates still in prison have detainers and will be released later, CNN reports. State lawmakers said their goal is to reduce overcrowding in prisons and help low-level offenders learn skills that will help them with life on the outside. "Now is the first day of the rest of your life," Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) told inmates on Monday. "We really want you to have a successful future."
Several nonprofit groups are working with the state's Department of Corrections to connect the inmates with resources to assist them during this transition. The state Pardon and Parole Board said if the inmates had served their full sentences, it would have cost the state $11.9 million. Of the inmates who had their sentences commuted, 75 percent are men, 25 percent are women, and the average age is 39.7. They were released on average 1.34 years early.