In December 2018, President Trump signed the “First Step Act” into law.
Trump touted the bill during his State of the Union address in February. “This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community,” Trump explained. “The First Step Act” gives nonviolent offenders the chance to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, states across the country are following our lead. America is a nation that believes in redemption.”
Now, another prominent Republican, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, is following the lead of President Trump. Today, the GOP governor made history by releasing more than 400 Oklahoma prison inmates today, in the largest single-day communication in U.S. history, as officials look to move away from policies that have led to the state having the highest incarceration rate in the country.
Fox News reports – The state Pardon and Parole Board approve the inmates’ release on Friday after recommending commutation for 527 inmates.
The board considered 814 cases in all.
Their convictions for low-level drug and property crimes were reduced to misdemeanors after Gov. Kevin Stitt this year signed a House bill, which retroactively applied the sentence reductions.
The Republican governor shook the hands of dozens of women as they were released from the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft. He encouraged the newly released inmates to seek help from the state and nonprofit groups to aid their reintegration into society.
“We really want you to have a successful future,” Stitt told a crowd outside. “This is the first day of the rest of your life. … Let’s make it so you guys do not come back here again.”
“I’m excited, I’m ready. I’m ready to go,” said Leigh Silverhorn, who served six months of a 10-year sentence for marijuana possession.
Shannon Brown, who served 20 months of her 12-year sentence for drug possession hugged her daughter as she left the facility.
Voters approved a criminal justice reform bill in a 2016 statewide referendum. The state will save nearly $12 million by releasing the inmates early.
Will black Americans who were given a new lease on life, after they were released from prison under President Trump’s First Act law, remember that it was Trump who made prison reform a reality? Or will they continue to believe Democrat lawmakers who’ve made empty promises about prison reform for decades?