NORMAN — Advocates of the Second Chance Act Program that helps incarcerated women return to society say we can pay a little now or a lot later. With the new fiscal year starting July 1, money for the program still has not been definitively identified.
“It was the first program (that) started dealing with women in county jail and taking action so that they don’t come back,” Undersheriff Rhett Burnett said.
Cleveland County commissioners approved $8,500 in monthly service contracts for the Second Chance program, commonly known as S-Cap, on Monday. The program’s funding is still iffy, and the sheriff’s office will keep it afloat for a couple of months as they search for grants to provide more long-term funding.
Sheriff Joe Lester Lester introduced S-Cap in 2009. It was originally sponsored by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and funded through the Second Chance Act grant from the Bureau of Justice.
“The program needs funding, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re working with as many people as we can,” Burnett said.
Information on a grant from the Bureau of Justice is expected by July 1.
“We’re hopeful that will take care of it,” Burnett said. “We’ve started the program and we’ve got to find money to fund it. The program is still running strong. We just want to keep it that way by finding federal grants or donations from foundations to keep it going.”
Last year, state grants that funded S-Cap were discontinued, leaving the sheriff’s office scrambling to find the money to keep the program intact.
S-Cap provides training and mental health overviews for incarcerated women. The S-Cap contracts include Elizabeth P. Jones for $3,500 monthly, Lisa Lewis for $2,000 per month and Jennifer Walker Smothers for $3,000 per month.