The streets of Oklahoma became a little more crowded Monday as the state’s prison system released more than 400 inmates.
The massive release — which is being touted as the largest day of commutations in U.S. history — came just three days after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to set free a total of 527 lower-level offenders in an effort to save an estimated $12 million in taxpayers’ money by cleaning up state prisons. The remaining inmates who have been cleared will be released sometime this week, officials say.
One inmate, Lana Lemus, says she’s “ecstatic” over the unexpected gift of freedom. “It’s the great thing that the governor is doing so we can be home with our kids,” she says. “Been out of her life for three years. But she’s my hope. She’s never given up on me.”