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Oklahoma group works to reduce 'excessive' sentences

Posted: 1:59 PM, Aug 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-13 18:59:31Z

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma coalition is campaigning to reduce sentences of dozens of people incarcerated for crimes that no longer carry such severe punishments following the state's criminal justice reform efforts.

The Oklahoman reports that Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform has partnered with University of Tulsa law students for what they call the "commutation campaign." The bipartisan group includes law enforcement, lawmakers and business and community leaders.

A commutation makes a sentence less severe to correct an unjust or excessive sentence. The decision isn't intended to serve as an early release mechanism.

A state law that took effect last year reclassifies certain low-level crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies. But the law doesn't apply retroactively.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will begin initially reviewing about two dozen cases Monday.

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