History was made Monday as more than 450 prisoners were released from prison early. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed more than 500 certificates for early release.
Gov. Stitt greeted the 70 women released from Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Muskogee County. He shook each of their hands and told them how happy he was to meet them on the outside of prison walls.
The 70 women are just some of the nearly 500 prisoners being let out early, making it the largest single-day prison release.
There were a lot of emotions as women reunited with family, friends and children. The governor acknowledged that there would be challenges and hardships in the road ahead. But he told the woman the state is doing everything they can to provide them all the resources they need to never end up back inside these walls again.
"There's a whole lot I have to learn from this experience," said former prisoner Patrina Hunt. "I'm still working on it myself. I'm very young, and I have a lot of things I'm changing in my life."
"That's what I want to leave with you," said Gov. Kevin Stitt. "This is the first day of the rest of your life."
Gov. Stitt said he was tired of Oklahoma being at the top of the list for incarcerations which led to Monday's events.
"I'm so glad to go home to my kids and my husband and family," said Donnie Crow. "I'm happy. I'm truly happy."
"This is really a second chance for each and every one of you, and I want to challenge you," Stitt said. "Because you know there will be tough times ahead. But your kids, your family, your future - everything depends on you getting tough and making sure you get the help you need, so you do not come back here and make the same mistakes that have happened in the past."
Some of the women said they'd completely lost hope, and that their release felt like a miracle.