Monday, February 07, 2011

Reducing Oklahoma's Incarceration Rate (#1 for Women): But Will Legislators Take Action

Have you noticed that we are seeing more and more excellent articles on women incarcerated in Oklahoma? For example, in yesterday's Oklahoman there was this piece: :

Here is the good news: Leaders across Oklahoma are moving from being "tough on crime" to being "smart on crime." The Oklahoma Women's Coalition hosted a statewide conference on this subject last spring (see Oklahoma SIS website for background and to view the Public Agenda  Action Plan for getting OK down from #1 at incarcerating women).  The Oklahoma Women's Coalition then helped organize the "Count the Costs" collaborative effort (see Count The Costs website).

Tell your State Senator and State Representative Oklahoma needs to stop incarcerating nonviolent female offenders with addiction problems and the Legislature needs to pass bills that let the courts assign those women to alternative sentencing programs where they can overcome their addiction, learn coping skills and stay in contact with their children.

Why might they actually do this? Because a number of our legislative leaders recently traveled to Texas to learn how Texas radically reduced their incarceration rates (and the tax dollars they spend on corrections). Now Texas uses those saved tax dollars to provide more slots for citizens seeking drug addiction  treatment -- a win-win solution.

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