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On July 11, 1944, the citizens of the State voted on State Question 309 to amend the Oklahoma Constitution and thus began the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
The Oklahoma Constitution, Article VI, Section 10, states:
There is hereby created a Pardon and Parole Board to be composed of five members; three to be appointed by the Governor; one by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; one by the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Court of Appeals or its successor. An attorney member of the Board shall be prohibited from representing in the courts of this state persons charged with felony offenses. The appointed members shall hold their offices coterminous with that of the Governor and shall be removable for cause only in the manner provided by law for elective officers not liable to impeachment. It shall be the duty of the Board to make an impartial investigation and study of applicants for commutations, pardons or paroles, and by a majority vote make its recommendations to the Governor of all deemed worthy of clemency. Provided, the Pardon and Parole Board shall have no authority to make recommendations regarding parole for convicts sentenced to death or sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
The Governor shall have the power to grant, after conviction and after favorable recommendation by a majority vote of the said Board, commutations, pardons and paroles for all offenses, except cases of impeachment, upon such conditions and with such restrictions and limitations as he may deem proper, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law. Provided, the Governor shall not have the power to grant paroles if a convict has been sentenced to death or sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The Legislature shall have the authority to prescribe a minimum mandatory period of confinement which must be served by a person prior to being eligible to be considered for parole. The Governor shall have power to grant after conviction, reprieves, or leaves of absence not to exceed sixty (60) days, without the action of said Board.
He shall communicate to the Legislature, at each regular session, each case of reprieve, commutation, parole or pardon, granted, stating the name of the convict, the crime of which he was convicted, the date and place of conviction, and the date of commutation, pardon, parole and reprieve.
When the final votes were counted on State Question 309 the results were:
YES: 140,498; NO: 82,911