OKLAHOMA CITY – More of Oklahoma’s nonviolent offenders will soon qualify for the state’s Electronic Monitoring Program thanks to legislation signed into law last week.
In a statement from Senate communications staff to CapitolBeatOK.com, The City Sentinel newspaper and other news organizations, Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, said Senate Bill 456 addresses two eligibility issues within community sentencing to help nonviolent offenders re-enter society while keeping predators out of the program.
“This bill improves our community sentencing statutes by ensuring those who committed low level crimes and don’t present a danger to society can return to their families and the workforce. This will allow them to become productive members of society while lowering incarceration costs and prison overcrowding,” Coleman said.
“It further adds some instances of child abuse and neglect as well as vulnerable adult exploitation to the violent crimes list, ensuring these predators don’t qualify for the program. Those who prey on children, the disabled and elderly need to serve out their full time to better protect our communities. I’m so grateful for the overwhelming support of this important public safety reform.”
Requested by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, S.B. 456 eliminates the current eligibility requirements that keep inmates sentenced between five and ten years from participating in Electronic Monitoring Program.
The new law will allow all sentence lengths to be eligible for the program once a nonviolent offender is within three years of release. It also makes inmates convicted on counts relating to child abuse and neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult ineligible to participate in home monitoring.
Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie, carried the measure in the House.
“When working on this bill, Senator Coleman and I wanted to ensure the language was agreed upon by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association and the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and I’m glad we were able to find common ground on this bill,” Mize said.
“It is my hope Senate Bill 456 will help protect our most vulnerable citizens from harm while promoting public safety. I’m glad to see this important legislation signed into law.”
Participation in the Electronic Monitoring Program is not automatic. Inmates must apply to get into the program and meet numerous eligibility standards prior to enrollment.
The new law will go into effect November 1, 2021.
Governor Stitt signs Coleman-Mize bill expanding electronic monitoring for nonviolent offenders
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