The Norman Transcript

Letters

June 8, 2014

Recidivism prevention program in jeopardy

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I would like to thank Dr. John Fletcher for presenting a program on “Mass Incarceration” at the West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation two weeks ago. According to Dr. Fletcher’s report, the United States incarcerates its citizens at the highest rate in the world. We in Oklahoma incarcerate more women than any other state and, in fact, Oklahoma’s rate of incarceration of women follows the national rate and is also the highest in the world.

But there is good news here in Cleveland County. We have a unique program called S-CAP (Second Chance Advocacy Program) which is a re-entry and diversion program for female offenders. It originated in the Cleveland County Sheriff’s office in 2010 and was supported by a federal grant for two years, then was funded by Cleveland County for one year. It is presently in need of funding for the coming year.

The primary objectives of the program are:

1) prevention of recidivism;

2) helping participants to become productive, working,  responsible taxpayers; and

3) preservation of families. 

S-CAP helps participants pursue further education, find jobs, secure housing and navigate the court system among other things.  With an average length of stay of 40 days, S-CAP saves Cleveland County approximately $500,000 each year by reducing the recidivism rate of participants from 70 percent to 8 percent.  That’s right 70 percent to 8 percent.

Reportedly, the cost for one “Navigation” system for one woman is $780 per year compared to about $22,000 per year for incarceration. Today 366 women are involved in the program and are maintaining the same 90 percent improvement rates.

Funding for the program in Cleveland County appears to be in jeopardy. It’s hard to understand why when the program is so economically beneficial to the taxpayer as well as to the women who are in the program and their children and families. Private contributions to the program are being accepted.

Please support this program in any way that you can.

LOIS HILBERT   

Norman

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