By Catherine Roberts
Tulsa, Okla. – Oklahoma is commonly known for its female incarceration rate of more than twice the national average, but a fledgling program, Women in Recovery, hopes to change that. The first six to complete the program celebrated their graduation today.
The program is the result of a partnership between the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Family and Children's Services "in order to provide a very intensive day treatment program in lieu of incarceration for non-violent offending women," said Mimi Tarrasch, Director of Women in Recovery.
"What you're seeing today is an amazing transformation of opportunity for women who are not sitting in prison, that are on the road to recovery, who have been reunified with their children, who are employed, who are healthy today, and who are supported by many, many people in the community," she said of the graduation ceremony.
Women in Recovery is a 12-month program, and costs the state either the same or less than the amount that one year of incarceration would cost. And since most of the women in the program would have been in jail for multiple years, the savings add up quickly.
"These women would have represented over a million dollars in state costs," said Ken Levit, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundatiaon. "We hope that these women are on the road to recovery, to being tax-paying citizens and very productive members of our community."