We have high hopes for a program being instituted in Muskogee County that could help reduce the number of women being sent to prison.
Oklahoma has long been known for the number of women incarcerated, but Women in Recovery could make a difference.
Women In Recovery provides intensive therapeutic intervention and supervision to help rehabilitate women facing substance abuse addiction, serving as an alternative to incarceration. The program is available to women who have a pending felony case, and they have to have a history of opiate addiction.
According to sentencingproject.org, which tracks those numbers, reports that Oklahoma has the highest rate of women incarcerated in the United States.
That is not something the state should be known for.
This program could be a first step for many women who are ready to break the cycle of addiction. They've lost their families. They've committed crimes to help feed their addiction. They've hit rock bottom.
Muskogee County District Judge Bret Smith said Women in Recovery's success rate made it an important alternative for qualified candidates in Muskogee County. He said if the program keeps families together, holds offenders accountable, provides safety for the community and makes women in the program productive members of society, and "That's a win-win for everybody."
The new program is not going to work for all women who take part. It's not an easy program. It is for women who are ready for a change. And, it takes time. The first phase of the three-phase program is about four to six months long. It takes commitment.
As much as we dislike that these types of programs are necessary, they are. And we should all be glad there are people out there with programs that could help all of Oklahoma.