The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

March 9, 2013

Second chance program gets request to expand statewide

NORMAN — The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth has recommended that the Second Chance Act Program created by Sheriff Joe Lester be implemented in all counties across the state.

Sheriff Lester introduced S-CAP in 2009. It is sponsored by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and funded through the Second Chance Act grant from the Bureau of Justice.

The program gives non-violent offenders a chance to re-acclimate into society. Women incarcerated at the Cleveland County Detention Center are eligible to participate.

According to the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, of those women participating in S-CAP, the recidivism rate drop has dropped from 70 percent to 10 percent since the program was introduced four years ago. More than 85 percent of participants are mothers.

Rock Richardson, directs S-CAP. Richardson and senior program coordinator, Beth Jones, visit inmates at the county jail several times a week enrolling them in the program.

The program provides housing and food needs along with employment and counseling services.

Richardson said it is an honor for Cleveland County to be recognized as having a state of the art re-entry program for women.

“This model positively impacts women, mother and their children who are non-violent offenders that experiences incarceration for the first time. S-CAP Navigation Program prevents Cleveland County women and mothers from drifting into the prison system and prevents their children from drifting in the foster care system,” Richardson said.”

Lester said the program gives women the help and services needed to turn their lives around and become productive citizens.

“We started this program because it is the right thing to do and the only solution to keep women from coming back to jail,” Lester said.

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