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First Step Male Diversion Program hopes to break the prison cycle

Posted at 11:18 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-15 00:18:11-05

TULSA, Okla. — It’s a scary number—Oklahoma leading the country with the highest prison populations.

One group fixing the problem in Tulsa is about to graduate its first class.

This program specifically targets men from 18-25.

It’s called the ‘First Step Male Diversion Program’ and hopes to break the prison cycle.

The program was founded by former public defender David Phillips, the late Rob Nigh and retired Tulsa County District Judge Willaim Kellough.

Phillips said the program lasts just over a year and focuses on drug treatment, therapy and safe housing for offenders.

"One thing that this program has shown in the year that we have operated in is that if an individual stays in our program their chances of reoffending drop about 40%,” said Phillips.

There's about 12 people in the program.

The first three are expected to graduate in February.

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