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Oklahoma held the title for the highest lockup rate in the country (1 in every 100 residents), but that began to change on Monday after some 500 non-violent offenders had their sentences commuted by sweeping criminal justice reform. ABC, CBS, and NBC celebrated the move during their evening newscasts but ignored the role of the heavily Republican-control legislature and the Republican governor in giving people another chance. A point the networks would’ve hammer home if it were Democrats.
ABC sprinted past the news, with anchor David Muir giving the largest mass-commutation in U.S. history a scant 19 seconds:
DAVID MUIR: Hundreds of former prisoners in Oklahoma are marking their first taste of freedom tonight. Days after the state's parole board commuted the sentences of 527 inmates. The largest mass commutation in U.S. history. It comes after criminal justice reforms changed some low-level felonies to misdemeanors. The move will also save taxpayers nearly $12 million.
Over on CBS Evening News, correspondent Omar Villafranca reported that Oklahoma’s criminal justice reform measures “made simple drug possession a misdemeanor and increased the dollar amount the make property theft crimes a felony.”
“Today's releases run counter to Oklahoma's tough-on-crime reputation. There are nearly 26,000 sitting in the Sooner state's prisons. It also has one of the highest female incarceration rates in the country, something Governor Kevin Stitt wants the change,” he added.