The Pardon and Parole Board voted Friday to recommend 527 inmates for commutation, setting the stage for Monday’s mass release. The governor signed off on all but three of the recommendations because of a last-minute victim’s protest and a couple of last-minute reports of misconduct, officials said. Not all of the inmates granted commutation were released Monday because some had detainers.
The people whose sentences were commuted were serving time for simple drug possession or property crimes that were made misdemeanors after voters approved State Question 780 in 2016. Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed legislation to provide relief for people who were serving felony prison sentences for crimes that are now misdemeanors under state law. However, instead of providing blanket retroactive relief to everyone in prison for those crimes, lawmakers directed the Pardon and Parole Board to create an accelerated, single-stage commutation process to review eligible cases.