Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014
Sen. Kim David
Bill to lower Oklahoma’s female incarceration
rate signed into law
Oklahoma could see its incarceration rates, especially
those among nonviolent female offenders, decrease in the coming
years thanks to a new innovative alternative-to-incarceration pilot
program approved by the governor Tuesday. Senate Bill 1278, by Sen.
and Rep. Leslie Osborn, will create a “Pay-for-Success”
contract pilot program to help nonviolent female offenders get the
substance abuse treatment, counseling and other services they need
to become self-sufficient, productive citizens.
“Our prisons are overflowing, underfunded and understaffed.
We must be smarter when it comes to addressing crime in our state,
especially nonviolent drug offenses,” said David, R-Porter.
“We can no longer afford to simply warehouse nonviolent offenders.
We need to address the cause of their problems – poverty,
addiction, abuse and other issues that won’t go away if they’re
simply locked up with no counseling and treatment. Incarceration
simply feeds the cycle of poverty and crime, which is why our recidivism
rates are also some of the highest in the country. This is a proven
program that has a high success rate of rehabilitating female offenders
and getting them back to their families and out of the corrections
system for good.”
The bill authorizes the Office of Management and Enterprise Services
(OMES) to enter into a Pay-for-Success (PFS) contract pilot program
with the Women in Recovery (WIR) program in Tulsa, which has proven
outcomes with reducing public sector costs associated with female
incarceration. Under the PFS contract, the state will negotiate
with nonprofits, like WIR, to deliver specific outcomes, such as
reduced incarceration. Private philanthropy will provide upfront
funding for the program. A contract will only be paid once OMES
verifies that the diversion or reentry program has been successfully
completed by a participant.
OMES will be responsible for negotiating what will be considered
success in the program as well as the payment structure with the
service provider. Program outcomes will also be measured by OMES
and will be available for legislative review.
According to WIR, all of the women who enroll in their program have
spent time in jail awaiting sentencing and would have received significant
prison sentences and actually have served at least three years (on
average) in an ODOC facility. The cost to the state of three years
of incarceration is approximately $40,000 whereas this same amount
of time in WIR only costs $14,500. Therefore, the state stands to
potentially save approximately $8,500 per enrollee annually by utilizing
Of the nearly 2,800 females incarcerated in Oklahoma prisons, 85
percent of them have children. David noted that the program will
save the state a significant amount of money simply by reuniting
these mothers with their children. Studies have shown that children
of incarcerated women are at greater risk of dropping out of school,
running away from home, abusing drugs, becoming involved in the
juvenile justice system, being placed in DHS custody and foster
care, and becoming incarcerated themselves. Together these social
problems cost the state millions of dollars annually.
“Most of the women currently incarcerated can be rehabilitated
and become productive citizens as the Women in Recovery program
has shown repeatedly. This pilot program is going to offer courts
an alternative to incarceration that will keep more families together
and allow these women to become contributing members of society,”
said David. “I’m looking forward to getting the program
started and I want to thank Rep. Osborn and my colleagues for helping
me get this legislation to the governor’s desk.”
The new law will go into effect November 1, 2014.
For more information, contact:
Sen. David: (405) 521-5590