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Gov Signs Bill to Ease Prison Overcrowding (May 11, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill designed to ease Oklahoma's overcrowded prison system by keeping some nonviolent criminals out of prison and reducing the governor's role in the parole process.

Fallin signed the bill Wednesday before an audience that included women from a Tulsa-based recovery center that provides treatment for prison-bound women facing drug charges.

The bill aims to divert nonviolent, low-risk offenders into community sentencing programs and expands the use of electronic monitoring of inmates. Those inmates are allowed to stay out of prison and remain in the community and continue to work if they follow program guidelines.

The measure also removes the governor from the parole process, except for those criminals convicted of certain violent offenses and crimes against children.



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