Oklahoma incarcerates women, many of them mothers, at a rate more than twice the national average.
As the state grapples with an emerging political consensus around criminal justice reform, The Atlantic and Reveal joined together yesterday in Oklahoma City to discuss female incarceration and criminal justice reform in Oklahoma.
“Defining Justice: The Experience of Women and Children Behind Bars” is the first in a series of three events examining aspects of the American criminal justice system and how they affect women and children in cities across the country.
Key questions discussed at the event included:
- Why is the women’s incarceration rate in Oklahoma so high?
- What are the long-term human costs to the women and children affected by the justice system?
- What could a woman-oriented criminal justice system look like?
You can watch the event below, thanks to The Atlantic:
Speakers included policymakers, advocates, justice experts, and women who have been incarcerated in Oklahoma prisons. Taking part in the discussions were Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Sheila Harbert, Chief Community Outreach Officer for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma; Mimi Tarrasch, Executive Director of Women In Recovery; Kris Steele, Executive Director of The Education and Employment Ministry and the former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; and Susan Sharp, Presidential Professor Emerita at the University of Oklahoma and author of Mean Lives, Mean Laws: Oklahoma’s Women Prisoners.