Parole bill fails to get hearing
A measure that would have allowed state prisoners 65 and older to request a parole hearing failed to get a hearing by Thursday's deadline for a Senate committee. House Bill 1056, by Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, would have allowed elderly prisoners to be able to request parole after completing 10 years or one-third of their prison sentence.
Sen. Harry Coates, the Senate sponsor of HB 1056, said he was disappointed it did not get a hearing by the Senate Public Safety Committee. Coates, R-Seminole, said the measure was intended to address the costs associated with Oklahoma's ever increasing aging prison population and prison overcrowding.
“These are senior citizens who, more than likely, are not a danger to society and yet we continue to spend millions keeping them locked up,” he said.
About 685 prisoners would have been affected by the bill, according to the Corrections Department. It costs an average of $14,940 per year to incarcerate an inmate. McDaniel said older prisoners tend to cost the state more than other inmates because they have special needs that other prisoners don't have and their health care costs are higher.