Pardons and Paroles
Pursuant to 57 Okl. St. § 332, the Governor must have the power to grant, after conviction, reprieves, commutations, paroles and pardons for all offenses, except cases of impeachment, upon such conditions and such restrictions and limitations as may be deemed proper by the Governor, subject, however, to the regulations prescribed by law and the provisions of Section 10 of Article VI of the Oklahoma Constitution.
Conditions for Parole
In Oklahoma, no recommendations to the Governor for parole must be made in relation to any inmate in a penal institution in the State of Oklahoma unless the Pardon and Parole Board considers the victim impact statements if presented to the jury, or the judge in the event a jury was waived, at the time of sentencing and, in every appropriate case, as a condition of parole, monetary restitution of economic loss as defined by Section 991f of Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes, incurred by a victim of the crime for which the inmate was imprisoned. In every case, the Pardon and Parole Board must first consider the number of previous felony convictions and the type of criminal violations leading to any such felony convictions, then must consider either suitable employment or a suitable residence, and finally must mandate participation in education programs to achieve the proficiency level established in Section 510.7 of this title or, at the discretion of the Board require the attainment of a general education diploma, as a condition for release on parole.
Moreover, the Board must consider the availability of programs and the waiting period for such programs in setting conditions of parole release. The Board may require any program to be completed after the inmate is released on parole as a condition of parole. A facsimile signature of the inmate on parole papers that is transmitted to the Board must be an accepted means of acknowledgment of parole conditions. The probation and parole officer must render every reasonable assistance to any person making application for parole, in helping to obtain suitable employment or enrollment in an education program or a suitable residence. Any inmate who fails to satisfactorily attend and make satisfactory progress in the educational program in which the inmate has been required to participate as a condition of parole, may have his or her parole revoked. If an inmate’s parole is revoked, such inmate must be returned to confinement in the custody of the Department of Corrections[i].
Furthermore, the Department of Corrections, in conjunction with the Pardon and Parole Board, must implement a method for tracking the success and recidivism of persons who are required to have a two-stage parole consideration process pursuant to subsection C of Section 332.7 of this title for the first three (3) years following their individual release from incarceration or release to parole. Included in the annual and cumulative data to be collected for this category of offenders must be offender demographics and statistics including:
1. Offense type;
2. Sentence length;
3. Release information, indicating parole including the offense to which parole applied and whether multiple offenses or concurrent offenses were reviewed for purposes of parole or timed-out sentence and the percent of sentence served;
4. Number of persons by offense type eligible for parole consideration in the first and second stages of parole consideration in the calendar year;
5. Number of persons by offense type actually recommended for parole in the calendar year;
6. Number of persons by offense type granted parole by the Governor in the calendar year;
7. Rearrest data in the calendar year and cumulatively over the offender’s three-year data collection period;
8. Reincarceration data in the calendar year and cumulatively over the offender’s three-year data collection period;
9. Employment data for the calendar year cumulatively over the offender’s three-year data collection period; and
10. Other information deemed beneficial to analyzing the success and recidivism of this category of offenders annually and cumulatively over the offender’s three-year data collection period.
However, the information collected must be made available to the members of the Legislature, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and the Governor, by the Department of Corrections or the Pardon and Parole Board annually upon request, but not later than March 1 following the first data collection period[ii].
Rights of Parolee or Probationer
The Oklahoma law provides that with respect to any hearing pursuant to this act, the parolee or probationer:
1. Must have reasonable notice in writing of the nature and content of the allegations to be made, including notice that its purpose is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that s/he has committed a violation that may lead to a revocation of parole or probation;
2. Must be permitted to advise with any persons whose assistance s/he reasonably desires, prior to the hearing;
3. Must have the right to confront and examine any persons who have made allegations against him or her, unless the hearing officer determines that such confrontation would present a substantial present or subsequent danger of harm to such person or persons; and
4. May admit, deny or explain the violation alleged and may present proof, including affidavits and other evidence, in support of his or her contentions. A record of the proceedings must be made and preserved[iii].
Revocation of Parole
The statutes further provide that every person, referred to as “convict”, who has been or who in the future may be sentenced to imprisonment in any state penal institution must, in addition to any other deductions provided for by law, be entitled to a deduction from his or her sentence for all time during which he has been or may be on parole. The provisions of this section are hereby declared to be both retroactive and prospective, and to apply to convicts who are on parole on the effective date of this act as well as to convicts who may be paroled thereafter; and must at the discretion of the paroling authority apply to time on a parole which has been or must be revoked[iv].
[i] 57 Okl. St. § 332.8.
[ii] 57 Okl. St. § 332.20.
[iii] 57 Okl. St. § 349.3.
[iv] 57 Okl. St. § 350.