Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board Addresses Confusion About Prisoner Releases

Tuesday, November 5th 2019, 8:29 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has a list of prisoners on its website who were considered for release Monday, which was the largest single-day release in U.S. history.

There were a lot of smiles and hugs as 462 prisoners were released across the state. But 65 people who also had their sentences commuted are still in prison, because they are either being held for another jurisdiction or have a consecutive sentence for another crime. 

"There is some confusion around what could be commuted. The only things that were commuted were crimes less than $1,000 and simple drug possession,” Pardon and Parole Board Executive Director Steven Bickley said.

"I think people are very confused. And I think people should be concerned,” Norm Smaligo said.

Smaligo is part of a Facebook group called "Repeal SQ 780," which is posting about people like Kyeesha Alexander, who is listed as "recommended" on the parole board's website. The group's post said she was released Monday, but News On 6 checked and found she is still in prison, serving time for an assault conviction in Garfield County. The parole board said only her 2nd degree forgery conviction was commuted.

"I think she's a good example of the inmate that rolled to a consecutive sentence,” Bickley said.

Bickley said no one with an active assault case was released. He said if a victim registered with the board, the prisoner associated with that crime did not get out.

If the prisoner had to register as a sex offender or a violent offender, they're still behind bars, he said.

Bickley said the prisoners' conduct during time served was also given serious consideration.

"The board has a philosophy that if you can follow the rules on the inside, you can follow the rules on the outside,” Bickley said.

But Smaligo said his confusion about the release process and how the prisoners’ information is reported on the Pardon and Parole Board's website leaves him to wonder who is free and who isn't.

The “results” are listed on the website as either “recommended,” “denied,” or “stricken.”

"If they're gonna be released back into my community, if they're gonna be down the street. If they're gonna be my neighbor, I wanna know who is this person? Why are they being released?” Smaligo said.

Right now the parole board said there is not an easy way to find out on its website whether someone was actually released, adding you would have to look up someone's status on the Department of Corrections website.

Bickley wants people to know that in the future, victims of any crime are encouraged to fill out a protest form on the parole board website in order to register with the board.

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