OKLAHOMA CITY — A former Republican speaker of the Oklahoma House who has been a strong supporter of reducing the state’s prison population has been appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to the state’s Pardon and Parole Board.

Fallin on Tuesday announced that former state Rep. Kris Steele of Shawnee will serve on the board for a term that expires in January 2019.

A former pastor, Steele was speaker of the House from 2010-2012 and currently serves as executive director of The Education and Employment Ministry, an organization dedicated to helping former inmates transition to society.

Steele spearheaded a successful initiative petition that was approved by voters in the fall to reduce the criminal penalties for simple drug possession and low-level property crimes.

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