TAFT, Okla. - 2NEWS took an in-depth look at four women and their struggles with an addiction to methamphetamine .
Their paths crossed behind prison gates at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma.
Addiction to meth is a common problem for many of the female inmates with whom we spoke. Whether they got caught using the drug, manufacturing it or dealing it, they ended up behind bars.
Oklahoma has the highest female incarceration rate of any state in the country, and addiction to meth is contributing to the problem.
Statewide in 2010, nearly 1,400 women went through the Oklahoma Department of Corrections at a cost of $40 per inmate, per day to taxpayers. Even still, the cost is much higher for families. Here are their stories.
Name: Cori Tierce
Sentence: Five years for trafficking
Cori Tierce is fighting the battle of her life for custody of her three children.
"I didn't get a chance to say good bye," said Tierce. "But when I saw them after not seeing them for six months, my daughter actually asked me, 'I thought you were dead Momma.' They didn't understand why I was gone."
Tierce just started serving a five-year sentence for trafficking meth. She started using it with her dad at just 14 years old.
"One day I walked in the bedroom and he was getting high and I thought it was going to be cool to get high with him. He didn't want to be a father, he wanted to be a friend. So he got me high with him," said Tierce.
When she got older, she continued the cycle.
"There was times I locked myself in my bedroom, so I could get high and they wouldn't see it," said Tierce. "And my son would always ask me, 'Mom, are you going to the bedroom and locking yourself in there again?' He knew. They all knew."
Since she's been behind bars, her stepmother committed suicide and her father overdosed several years ago while using meth. For now, Tierce is taking it day by day, but she worries about her family every day.
"That's all I can do is pray about it," said Tierce. "Then at night I'll sit there and look at my pictures of my kids, and I'll cry. And I can lay there and I can picture that I can actually get to touch them or hug them. Maybe one day, you know," said Tierce.
Name: Sherri Gaines
Sentence: Two life sentences plus four years for attempt to conspire, manufacturing meth and child endangerment
In 2002, Sherri Gaines was sentenced to two life sentences. She started cooking meth with her husband, who is now also serving a prison term.
"I never in a million years would've expected to get a life sentence, for my first felony. And I felt hopeless, and just, I don't know, numb. Like it wasn't real, like it wasn't happening to me," said Gaines.
After a sentence reduction, Gaines will be released sometime next year.
Addiction to this potent drug has ripped her family apart.
"I've missed out on their whole childhood. Baseball games, you know, first days of school, you can't get that stuff back," said Gaines.
She watched her two teenage boys grow up through prison visits. She'll make it home just in time to see her oldest son graduate high school.
"I don't plan on just leaving everything at the gate," said Gaines. "I know that my addiction is a life-long thing, something I'm going to have to continue to fight against, and I can't just say, 'it's over, I'm cured'.'"
Name: Melanie Moen
Sentence: 10 years for manufacturing
Melanie Moen is just beginning to feel the loss of her three children growing up without her.
"My son's eight, my daughter's nine, and this one's 10," said Moen, looking at photographs of her children.
She's only been at Eddie Warrior for a few months.
"Once you go to prison, everything looks different to you," she said.
She and her husband are each serving prison terms for manufacturing meth. Her children are staying with their grandparents.
"All I can do is tell them I'm sorry, and tell them I'll change my ways and do better. And be the mom I used to be, and more," said Moen.
She says a prison sentence may have been the best thing to happen to many of her fellow inmates.
"We're lucky we're here and not dead," said Moen.
Name: Danyeil Inman
Sentence: 20 years for manufacturing
Danyeil Inman has been using meth since she was 16 years old. Her drug use didn't stop after she had three children.
"I'd go to bed at night and get out of bed in the morning and get my daughter off to school or whatever, cook her breakfast, you name it, I was an every day mom," said Inman. "But no sooner than I got back from dropping my daughter off from school, I was getting high."
Right now DHS is filing to terminate custody of her four-year-old twins. Her teenage daughter was placed in a separate foster family.
Inman says she'll never be able to get back what she's missing.
"Everything important in life. Everything. You can't pinpoint any one thing. I'm missing watching my children play basketball outside. Sitting with my dad and drinking a cup of