Prison Reform

Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is Eric Schlosser, the well-regarded American journalist and filmmaker whose bestselling books include "Fast Food Nation" (2001), "Reefer Madness" (2003), "Chew on This" (2006), and "Command and Control" (2013). This last-named title reveals the details of America's ongoing efforts to prevent nuclear weapons from being stolen, sabotaged, or detonated by accident.

Women are the fastest-growing prison population group in the United States today -- and the State of Oklahoma, tragically, puts women in prison at twice the national rate. On this edition of ST, we check in with the non-profit organization known as Still She Rises, a public defender office based here in our community that's dedicated to representing North Tulsa mothers within the criminal justice system. Still She Rises, which began operations in Tulsa about a year ago, grew out of a similar group in NYC known as The Bronx Defenders.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we get to know Robin Steinberg, a New York City-based public defender who founded the nonprofit Bronx Defenders in the late 1990s. This organization is still known for its model of "holistic defense," in which clients are advocated for by an interdisciplinary team of professionals (legal and otherwise) who address the underlying causes as well as the collateral consequences of our criminal-justice system. As Steinberg tells us, in January of this year, the Bronx Defenders opened a smaller-scale satellite office in North Tulsa called Still She Rises.

File Photo

The State of Oklahoma continues to top nationwide stats regarding the number of people it incarcerates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, our state ranks second in the nation in its rate of incarceration at 700 per every 100,000 people; the national average is 471. Oklahoma also imprisons women at the highest rate in the country -- at a rate that's more than twice the national average. Come early November, voters statewide will consider two initiatives aimed at reversing these shameful and embarrassing trends.