Dianne Frazee-Walker

Oklahoma has a women problem, but not the kind of problem one may contemplate. The problem is more women in Oklahoma are incarcerated than any other state in the country. In fact, the number of women incarcerated in Oklahoma is almost double the national average. For a state that as an overflowing correctional system, 2,700 women is quite an exorbitant figure, especially when 67% of these Oklahoma women are locked-up for nonviolent crimes. Only about 16% of these women committed violent crimes. Regardless of the offenses for which Oklahoma women are spending time in prison, these dire statistics are costing the state $26,000,000 a year.

Oklahoma also has a children problem. Three percent of Oklahoma children have at least one parent incarcerated. The problem with that is children with at least one parent in prison are five times more likely to be arrested as a juvenile and end up in prison as an adult.

Even though most of Oklahoma’s incarcerated women are serving excessive sentences for non-violet crimes, they are branded into one group of degenerates by society. Local community members are ignorant about the circumstances that led up to these women ending up in prison and believe they should be locked away from the rest of civilization. Regarded as a different species. Isolate them. They did the crime, so we don’t care about them. The attitude of local Oklahomans concerning the reason for the high rate of female incarceration is: “Oklahoma has mean women.” 

The goal is to get people to view them as real people with feelings. They want to see their families. 

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