What Is The Parole Process For Prisoners In Oklahoma?

Kevin Macklin

November 28, 2022

The State of Oklahoma has been trying to deal with an increasing prison population while looking for ways to reasonably facilitate its decline. Parole is an avenue for a prisoner in the State of Oklahoma to seek release and help with soaring prison rates. If you have a loved one in prison in Oklahoma you may be wondering what the Oklahoma parole process looks like. You may be asking yourself “How does a prisoner get parole in Oklahoma?" Today, I'll give you a glimpse into the Oklahoma parole process.

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When can a prisoner in the state of Oklahoma come up for parole?

The majority of prisoners in the state of Oklahoma will come up for parole after serving 1/3 of their time if they are a nonviolent offender, or 85% of their time if they are a violent offender. For example, if a prisoner is serving a nonviolent 10 year sentence, they will come up for parole after serving three years. On the other hand, if a prisoner is serving a violent 10 year sentence then they will come up for parole after serving 8 ½ years.

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What are the steps for a prisoner to be paroled in the state of Oklahoma?

The parole process in the state of Oklahoma has two stages. The first stage is what they call a jacket review, and the second stage is a personal appearance.

First stage of the Oklahoma parole process

During the jacket review, the parole board reviews a prisoner’s file. From speaking with someone who works with the Oklahoma Commutation Project, my understanding is that the file only consists of a prisoner's charges and their intake review. I’m not sure as to how accurate this is since I’ve never seen the jacket that goes in front of the parole board and I don’t know anyone who has ever seen it, but this is what I was told from what I would consider a fairly reliable source.

Before the first stage, as a prisoner is approaching their parole hearing, a parole investigator at the inmate’s prison will come and talk to them. One of the questions asked is where the prisoner will live upon their release, so the prisoner must have this information ready.

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Second stage of the Oklahoma parole process

If the parole board passes a prisoner to the second stage then the prisoner will have an opportunity for a personal appearance in front of the parole board. During the personal appearance the prisoner will be able to speak to the parole board, but not only will they be able to speak, they can also have two representatives speak for them as well as present the parole board with letters of recommendation written by supporters.

Final Words

If a prisoner is granted parole it is usually required that the parolee remain in the state of Oklahoma upon their release on parole. After a period of time, if the parolee wants to live in another state they can file for an Interstate Compact that would allow them to transfer their parole to the state they wish to live in.

If a prisoner is denied parole they will be notified of the denial, but they will not be given a reason for the denial nor will they be told or informed about what measures to take to increase their odds of parole the next time they come up. Many prisoners see this as a problem, especially if they've been taking classes and completing programs to rehabilitate themselves. Having knowledge of what they could do to increase their chances could prove to be very useful to a prisoner looking to  show that they have changed their life and are deserving of an early release.

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