Tulsa Attorney BlogSB 320: New Law Expands Medical Parole in Oklahoma

If the Inmate Is Medically Frail They Might Be Able For Medical Parole

Video Transcribed: New law expands medical parole in Oklahoma. My name is James Wirth I am a lawyer in Tulsa, and it’s that time of year where we’re talking about new laws that are going into place. Generally speaking, if it’s not an emergency legislative issue that is signed off by the governor, then it goes into effect on November 1st of the year. So, we have a number of new laws going in place. We’re looking at those and talking about them.

And in this case, we’re talking about Senate Bill 320, and it is related to medical parole. And it adds a couple of instances where you may be eligible for medical parole. So, for medical parole, for filing for that, it’s usually the director of the Department of Corrections that requests that somebody is put on the docket for potential medical parole, and the new law going into effect expands those circumstances.

Before, if the inmate was dying or near death, and that could be grounds, but now it adds in a couple of things. If the inmate is medically frail or is medically vulnerable, and then it defines those two things.

So, if the inmate is medically frail or medically vulnerable, those are two instances that may be appropriate for medical parole, based on this new statute, and defines medically frail as, “An individual with a medical condition which precludes the individual from performing two or more activities of daily living on their own.”

So, if they’re unable to handle their daily activities on their own, at least two instances they do daily, they cannot do on their own, they may be considered medically frail. And then the director of the Department of Corrections may put them on the Pardon and Parole Board docket for potential medical parole.

Now, these types of parole are not just for the benefit of the inmate. It is also sometimes beneficial of the State for DOC so … because they may not have the financial resources, may save them money for not having to care for these individuals.

attorney in OklahomaAnd, so, we also have some definitions in here regarding what those potential daily activities they can’t do on their own maybe. And it’s got those listed as essentially eating, using the restroom, grooming, dressing, bathing, transferring from one physical place to another.

Those are the types of things. If twice a day, you can’t do one or more of those two things, then that may mean that you are medically frail and may be appropriate to put on the docket for medical parole. Okay. So, that’s the first one, medically frail.

The other one is medically vulnerable. And that is what is interesting because it’s only available under very specific circumstances. So, this may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic going on, because it says, “The provisions of this subsection shall only apply during a catastrophic health emergency as declared by the governor.”

So, for this one to be applicable, there has to be a catastrophic medical emergency, and the governor has to sign off on that emergency. But if there is that emergency going on, which may or may not be applicable currently related to COVID 19, then, under those circumstances, the medically vulnerable may be eligible for medical parole.

And it defines medically vulnerable. It says, “Means an individual with one or more medical condition, which makes the individual more likely to contract an illness or disease while incarcerated that could lead to death or cause the individual to become medically frail.”

And then it lists off some potential diseases that would be applicable to that, but then it’s got … It indicates that this is not limited just to these. So, it talks about Alzheimer’s disease, other degenerative brain disorders, HIV, AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, asthma, diabetes, hepatitis C, seizure disorders, other neurological disorders, other things that could be, like MS or ALS, and an otherwise weakened immune system.

So, that’s not the full list. That is a list the statute has and that it says other things similar to this, perhaps, as well. So, essentially, somebody is in a condition where their immune system may be compromised. They may be vulnerable to certain types of illnesses.

The DOC may not want to be responsible for you getting sick in their custody and them having to take care of you. So, you may be determined to be medically vulnerable if there is a catastrophic health emergency going on that may cause the director of the Department of Corrections to put you on the Pardon and Parole Board list for medical parole.

So, that is Senate Bill 320 that goes into place on November 1st, 2021. If you have any questions about that and may apply to you or a family member’s circumstances, give us a call. You’re going to want to talk to an attorney privately, confidentially about that. To get that scheduled, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.

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