Working To Reduce Oklahoma's Prison Population

Friday, September 28th 2018, 8:00 am
By: Dave Davis

Oklahoma leads the nation in prison incarceration, but a conference going on this weekend in Tulsa will highlight some things that our city is doing to help reduce the prison population.

It is called FreeHer conference and it starts today and runs through Sunday at Marriott Hotel Southern Hills

At the conference there will be representatives from Women In Recovery, Criminal Justice Collaborative and Still She Rises.

Organizers say the conference will highlight the criminal justice reform work being done around the country and especially in Tulsa. 

There will be sessions on everything from how to talk to reporters, two presentations by lawyers, to protecting yourself in the digital world.

Coincidentally, Human Rights Watch and the ACLU just released a study on the cost of incarcerating women in Oklahoma. 

9/18/2018 Related Story: Oklahoma Now Leads Nation In Incarceration Rate Of Men & Women

They say they conducted 160 interviews with woman who are in jail, were in jail and others and they found it especially harmful when mothers are jailed.

Nearly 80-percent of women in jail are mothers, and the report listed myriad problems this poses including inability to post bail, their extended absence during pretrial incarceration, the pressure to plead guilty so they can return to their families, and the thousands of dollars in fees that many can't afford.

The study came up with several suggested reforms including suggesting that judge should consider the woman's primary caretaker status when determining bail amounts.