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Senate approves electronic monitoring expansion for nonviolent offenders

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that will help more nonviolent offenders qualify for the Electronic Monitoring Program passed out of the Senate unanimously Tuesday. Senate Bill 456’s author, Sen. Bill Coleman, said the measure was needed to correct an oversight in state law that left inmates sentenced between five and ten years unable to participate in home monitoring.

            “This bill will help address our overcrowded prisons and lower incarceration costs by allowing this group of nonviolent offenders to complete the remainder of their sentences at home, where they can return to the workforce and help support themselves and their families,” Coleman said. “It’ll also ensure that those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens—our children and senior citizens—won’t be eligible for the program.”

            The Ponca City Republican explained the bill prohibits those convicted of child abuse and neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, some instances of which are considered nonviolent crimes, from participating in the program.

            The measure, which was requested by the Department of Corrections, now heads to the House where Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie, is the House principal author.