He said he plans to organize a committee of inmate family members who discuss conditions at state prisons and pursue legal action on behalf of prisoners treated unfairly. “It used to work that way. It is important to note that the IRS has not put out official information stating that paperwork is being sent to county jails. Smith, a retired Moore resident whose uncle and nephew are incarcerated, founded the advocacy group Oklahoma Prisons Accountability Committee earlier this year. Inmates ate small portions of beans and bologna for most meals during the lockdown. "Direct supervision" means the Detention Officer is in direct contact . In addition to reducing cases and deaths, a successful vaccination process could allow the return of family visitation and in-person classes. The deadline for inmates to send a paper application to the IRS is November 4th. The … The most controversial of the bunch is likely permitless carry, allowing people to carry a gun without a license or training. “Unless things are seen from that point of view, nothing’s going to change,” she said. We have not been successful in changing that. A number of them will get a hearing during the first week lawmakers return to Tallahassee. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. State pardon and parole officials say the new law could make hundreds of inmates eligible for an accelerated commutation process when it takes effect Nov. 1, The Oklahoman reported. “They’ll be less likely to bother or harass a person inside because they know that person has some people outside who can investigate,” Washington said. The Justice Department has set new dates to begin executing federal death-row inmates following a monthslong legal battle over the plan to resume the executions for the first time since 2003. Under the ruling, the IRS also has to extend the deadline for inmates to file applications for EIPs, as well as send the necessary paperwork to prison officials for inmates. In this Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, photo, Steven Bickley, executive director of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, speaks about his new role and goals for the agency at the office in Oklahoma City, Okla. Parole officials say new criminal justice guidelines will likely increase the number of Oklahoma inmates eligible for accelerated commutations. CA’s inmate firefighter program is decades-old and has long needed reform. State pardon and parole officials say the new law could make hundreds of inmates eligible for an accelerated commutation process when it takes effect Nov. 1, The Oklahoman reported. In all good faith, we should probably be proactive with that and go ahead and do what we can to distribute the forms,” says Horton. The rule also classifies certain other HRAs as “excepted benefits” exempt from many health plan requirements. Sandy Horton with the Kansas Sheriff’s Association says he hadn’t heard about the ruling when we first contacted him while working on this story. Corrections officials in other states have raised concerns that the cameras could invade the privacy of inmates. Humphrey believes guards would be open to wearing a body camera, as it could deter inmates from conducting illicit activity or physically harming an officer. That's according to a new report showing the Pardon and Parole Board approved 33% fewer commutation applications in 2020 than in 2019.In 2019, Oklahoma saw a historic number of commutations.“Commutation is meant to correct excessive sentences and the pardon and parole … OKLAHOMA CITY – While many Oklahomans are already aware of the left lane law that takes effect on November 1st, there are many other laws that … The best defense to staff retaliation, Washington says, is increased accountability. In addition to reducing the prison population, protesters said they would like to see the legislature take action to reduce instances of staff misconduct. A federal judge this week ordered the Internal Revenue Service to stop withholding $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks from people in state or federal … Oklahoma seeing a sharp decline in the number of prisoners being granted a reduced sentence. She’s also connected with a community of former inmates and family members of prisoners who are fighting against poor conditions and staff misconduct inside state prisons. News. GENERAL PROVISIONS . ... Officers . SUBCHAPTER 1. Farmland on the Rise, Proudly powered by Newspack by Automattic. Before that change was made, the IRS had already sent out around 100 million dollars in checks to inmates across the country. Kalyn Doctorman, a 22-year-old from Mustang whose uncle is incarcerated, held an “inmates can’t distance” sign above her head. House Bill 1269, which took effect Nov. 1, directed the Pardon and Parole … The duo settled on a Dec. 11 date and began advertising the rally on Facebook. With in-person visitation indefinitely suspended due to the pandemic, they want the corrections department to authorize video calls at all facilities. CITY AND COUNTY DETENTION FACILITY STANDARDS. Defined Contribution Health Plans—A rule finalized in 2019 (84 Fed. Law officers are looking for an Oklahoma County jail inmate who escaped through a jail window. But, there are instances with county jails where an inmate may have been incarcerated maybe a couple of years waiting for trial,” says Groves. “The inmates received an instruction form, and then a blank 10-40 form,” says Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves. Weeks later, Avery and 112 other women housed at the prison tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-August. “They’re supposed to get 2,000 calories per day, and they’re getting like 700. “I do believe that there can be change,” she said. “Oklahoma criminal law is written very aggressively and strictly to prevent the Department of Corrections from releasing inmates before their sentences are over,” spokesman Justin Wolf told The Frontier in September. 74 O.S., Section 192. I think the only difference here is the judge ruled inmates and their families.”. Posted: October 30, 2020 7:39 PM. Michael Washington, an Oklahoma City paralegal and justice reform advocate, was incarcerated for a nonviolent crime in the 1970s. and inmates in inmate living areas. (Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include comments from a Department of Corrections official.). Oklahoma recently made some changes to their state laws concerning marijuana. Jan. 2020: An abrupt change in the Senate's leadership; could boost viability of criminal justice reform In closed Facebook groups, some exceeding 1,000 members, family members of inmates discuss commissary access to gang tensions and staff failing to follow COVID-19 protocols. More than 400 Oklahoma inmates are expected to walk out of prison starting today. “We have the numbers, we have the intellect, and we have the opportunity,” he said. ... “There is currently no data to suggest that $50 and a bus pass is the best way to release an inmate,” Brandes said during the December meeting. Then, in April, the California law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein filed a class-action lawsuit in Federal Court against the IRS, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the United States Government. More than 300 laws go into effect in Oklahoma Friday. Hundreds of Oklahoma inmates are expected to be released Monday. Nothing has happened to him over the past three years, but Barnes says she’s prepared to fight any disciplinary action tied back to her advocacy work. Last month, Smith and Emily Barnes, co-founder of the group Ignite Justice, came up with an idea they felt could spark change: Organize a protest outside of the Department of Corrections headquarters. "We really want you to … The states that met the federal standard for truth-in-sentencing in 1998 were: Arizona California Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Iowa Kansas Louisiana Maine Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri New Jersey New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina Tennessee Utah Virginia Washington Most state truth-in-sentencing laws … State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, chairs the House Public Safety Committee tasked with overseeing the corrections department. But it would cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide every corrections officer with the devices. ‘It Was Hell’: Inside an Oklahoma Prison Coronavirus Outbreak, Inmates, Corrections Staff Express Reluctance to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine. 310:670-1-1. An outbreak of 216 active cases is ongoing at the James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena. Earlier this week, the five-member state Pardon and Parole Board granted parole to 63 out of 74 inmates considered for administrative parole, with six stricken because of ineligibility or misconduct, and five having been discharged. The board authorized its staff to schedule an accelerated single-stage docket when it receives a list of potentially eligible inmates from the Department of Corrections. -Doug, Germany: Merkel's party elects pragmatic Laschet as leader, Some in the GOP parrot far-right talk of a coming civil war, AP Explains: Road to Palestinian vote full of obstacles, Restaurants, bars scramble for propane amid pandemic winter, SEAL pleads guilty to role in hazing death of Green Beret. Zachary Dodge. A quarter of Oklahoma’s legislature signed a letter asking Congress to challenge the results of the presidential election. “The inmates received an instruction form, and then a blank 10-40 form,” says Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves. “We’ve actually heard of cases where the guards want the inmates to have the COVID, because then they get an extra $2 an hour.”. Doctorman said the greatest challenge to improving Oklahoma’s prison conditions is getting enough people to pay attention and care about what’s going on. width: 100% !important; “I want to put up policies before our legislators,” he said. Contact him at (405) 831-9753 or Kross@Oklahomawatch.org. A law signed by the governor of Utah in 2015 states that a firing squad shall be used to execute an inmate if substances for lethal injection are unavailable on the scheduled date. The 214 deaths reported for the first week of 2021 surpassed Oklahoma’s total from each of the first five months of the pandemic. The rules in this Chapter provide procedures for inspecting all city and county detention facilities, city or county lockup facilities, and city or county detention facilities holding juveniles, as authorized by . Washington, the Oklahoma City paralegal, said inmate family members have to start putting pressure on state lawmakers to immediately take action to reduce the prison population. “Let’s march to the Capitol and not just march, but let’s sit down in their offices and talk about things.”. The outbreak meant limited commissary access and weeks locked down. Inmates can file a grievance, but the process often takes several weeks and isn’t always effective. Oklahoma Governor Releases 21 Prisoners Shut Out Of Drug Sentencing Reform But more than 1,100 others are still serving sentences that voters decided were too harsh. Feb. 2020: Governor is pushing for new mandatory minimums the legislature is resisting. Inmates … var field59 = field59 || {}; The inmates’ crimes were predominantly nonviolent drug offenses, but under mandatory minimum sentencing laws enacted during the crack and cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s they were sentenced to many years behind bars, according to federal law enforcement officials. DEC 31, 2020 - An attorney for an Oklahoma death row inmate testified Wednesday that he has found new potential witnesses who might be able to help his client's case but who would be prevented from testifying by a state law because his client's appeals have been exhausted. Other actions, like a mass release of inmates to relieve overcrowding and allow for better social distancing, would have to come through the legislature or governor’s office. Now seven weeks removed from prison, Avery has settled into a transitional home and found work at a Northeast Oklahoma City hair salon. For some background, shortly after the CARES Act was passed the IRS updated their eligibility requirements to exclude deceased people and people who are incarcerated. A slew of criminal justice reform bills will be up this 2020 legislative session. "global" : { But other local jails that we spoke to haven’t heard from the IRS at all. Share Share to Facebook. Innocent until proven guilty in jail, yet you lose all your benefits. OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney for an Oklahoma death row inmate testified Wednesday that he has found new potential witnesses who might be able to help his client's case but who would be prevented from testifying by a state law because his client's appeals have been exhausted. Inmates are now eligible to receive CARES Act stimulus checks Law firm that filed the lawsuits says county jail inmates are included. Those forms were sent so that inmates at the jail can apply for stimulus checks from the federal government. Such punishment may result in lost privileges, delayed release dates or solitary confinement. Groves explains that every inmate in the Cherokee County jail has filled out an application and that they are on their way back to the IRS. } } Brown disputes the claim that food quality and portions have declined during the pandemic, saying all meals are approved by a dietician and inmates receive a minimum of 3,000 calories per day. State officials grew tired of waiting for CVS to vaccinate vulnerable residents of Oklahoma’s veterans centers. “They’re afraid if they say something bad or their husbands say anything bad, they’re going to get in trouble for it,” said Beverly Funkhouser, a 61-year-old Purcell resident whose husband Dennis is incarcerated. When group members started sharing reports of poor conditions at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft in early September, dozens decided to rally outside of the prison. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board said that of the inmates that had their sentences commuted, 75 percent are men and 25 percent are women. The new law is also designed to help inmates transition back into society and the largest group of released inmates are drug offenders. ... More than 900 inmates applied for an early release as part of the new law. Though understaffed prisons have faced operational challenges throughout the pandemic, Humphrey says he hasn’t heard of widespread problems in the state’s corrections system. Since March, the board has granted medical parole to just 12 inmates. Kira Lerner Dec 19, 2018. According to the media contact for Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, the ruling includes people incarcerated in local county jails like Cherokee County. Though it’s difficult to contain the coronavirus in congregate living areas, Jonathon Smith says the actions of some corrections officers are contributing to the spread and putting inmates in danger. Every day we strive to produce journalism that matters — stories that strengthen accountability and transparency, provide value and resonate with readers like you. After dropping considerably from March through July, Oklahoma’s prison population has trended up since August as the corrections department has accepted more county jail transfers. Washington, who was interrupted at times by honking cars, urged protesters to start putting pressure on state lawmakers and the corrections department to release more inmates and improve conditions. dropping considerably from March through July, Oklahoma On Track for Worst Month of Pandemic, CVS Delays Prompt Oklahoma To Step In With Vaccinations For Veteran Centers, Virus Spread Continues As Vaccine Roll Out Gains Pace in Oklahoma, After Capitol Siege, Pro-Trump Legislators in Oklahoma Stand By Election Challenge, COVID-19 Is Spreading in State Prisons. “The way I read the order, until the sheriff receives the packet from the IRS, I don’t see there are any legal requirements on the sheriff. Prior to seeking public office, Humphrey worked for the corrections departments in various roles for 20 years. Mary Fallin will take effect Tuesday. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein has much more information on their website about the lawsuit, which can be found here: https://www.lieffcabraser.com/cares-act-relief/, .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe {