Okla. Governor signs prison diversion program

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry recently signed legislation allowing nonviolent female offenders who are mothers to receive community-based services instead of prison.

Henry signed the measure by Rep. Kris Steele of Shawnee on Monday. The measure encourages re-entry and diversion programs as
opposed to jail time for nonviolent offenders who are the primary caregivers of minor children.

The change would allow the women to receive rehabilitative
services under strict supervision while maintaining contact with
their children.

Oklahoma currently imprisons more women than any other state in the nation. The incarceration rate for women is 131 per 100,000
residents, almost twice the national average of 69 per 100,000. 68 percent of women prison inmates are serving time for nonviolent offenses.

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