Alternatives to Incarceration

Prevent and reduce the epidemic rates of female incarceration from the highest in the nation to at or below the national average.

Oklahoma 2012 Statistics
On the
Incarceration of Women


Oklahoma incarcerates more women than any other state or nation in the world.  We have held this distinction for the past 10 years.  Women share common pathways to incarceration:

  • History of family dysfunction and instability
  • History of trauma and violence
  • History of substance abuse and addiction
  • Economic marginalization and poverty
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Medical and mental health issues
  • Women offenders as mothers, and
  • Relationships

By recognizing these pathways unique to women and developing programs to remove and treat these barriers, we will be able to reduce the rate at which we incarcerate women in Oklahoma.  Treatment programs for women must provide services which address these issues to interrupt the cycle of intergenerational incarceration.

Fiscal year 2012 Receptions:

  • 1,198 Female Receptions in 2012
  • 78.5%  were convicted of non-violent crimes
  • 53.4% were between the ages of 21 and 35
  • 57.3% were assessed with a moderate to high need for substance abuse treatment
  • 78.5% had a history of or a current need for mental health treatment
  •  43.9% were charged with Distributing CDS or Possession of CDS

1,162 women completed their sentences and were released in fiscal year 2012.  37% of the women who were released served less than one year in prison.  Yet, their lives are changed forever.  They are now convicted felons.  Employment, housing, and other services are more difficult to access as a result of being labeled as a “convicted felon”.

Women do not suffer the consequences of incarceration alone!  The children of these women often lose contact with their mother for a period of time, are more likely to drop out of school or engage in delinquency, and are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated themselves as a result of having one or more parent incarcerated.  Approximately 85% of women who are incarcerated have one or more children, whose lives are also changed forever when a parent is incarcerated.

We must work to reduce the rate at which we incarcerate women in the state of Oklahoma, being mindful of public safety; the cost of incarceration vs. the cost of treatment; removing the barriers women face when raising children alone; addressing childhood trauma and family dysfunction; and, providing opportunities for women to recover, raise their families, and become productive citizens of our communityOklahoma Department of Corrections, Division of Female Offender Operations, Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report

Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Fiscal year 2011 Annual Report, Institutions-Division 1, Female Offender Operations