More inmates set free with ankle monitors

TULSA, Okla - Hundreds of Oklahoma inmates are back on the streets, dozens of them in Tulsa County, thanks to more lenient standards for the Department of Corrections' GPS ankle monitoring program.

Catherine Doak's Daughter, Victoria Knight was murdered as she worked at a check cashing business in 2004.

Doak says she was stunned when she logged onto the Tulsa County District Attorney's website and got a first hand look at the inmates being released in Tulsa County through the expanded GPS monitoring program.

The expanded criteria for the GPS monitoring program took last November.

The Department of Corrections says over the last fiscal year, 85-percent of the inmates released through the program have been successful. But Doak say, it's the remaining 15-percent that could a risk to the public.

"The man who killed my daughter had charges just like this on his record - just like these," says Catherine Doak as she holds a list the inmates released in July. "These people are potential murders."

All of inmates released in Tulsa County in the month of July have between two and 14 felony convictions. Most of them served time for crimes such as drugs, burglary and larceny.

Doak says people with these type of convictions have the potential to escalate to more violent crimes.

"Up to 14 felony convictions? This is appalling," says Doak. "This is scary for our communities. It's scary for our families."  

Now inmates serving sentences for non-violent crimes are eligible for ankle monitors if they are within 5 years of completing their sentences. DOC Spokesperson Jerry Massie says previously, inmates were eligible for an ankle monitor if they were within 11 months of completing their sentence.

Under the changes, some inmates have served as little as 90 days in prison.

"Whether they are on global positioning, or whether they are on straight probation or whether they are up for DA's supervision - when you're dealing with people, sometimes they will engage in violent acts," says Massie. "So it's a concern."

Massie says it costs $20,000 a year to incarcerate an inmate. He says the expanded criteria has opened up 1,200 beds for other, potentially violent inmates.

"Is that a good return on the investment? Obviously the answer would be yes. But if your motivation is to say this person has to be punished. Then they are not going to be happy with it."

Carl Adams' son Stephen has been missing for seven years and is presumed murdered. Carl says public safety should come before saving money.

"I would gladly pay for a tax increase," says Adams. "If it would cost me three bucks a week in taxes to keep people locked up? I would go for that in a heartbeat."

Anyone who wants to keep up to date on the movement of any particular inmate the system, can sign up for the Vine Link program through the State Attorney General's Office. That number is (877) 654-8463. You can also sign up through: http://www.vinelink.com

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