OK lawmakers to study high female incarceration

Posted at 1:14 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 14:14:25-04

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma lawmakers are planning a legislative study of the state's high incarceration rate for women and the impact it has on families in the state.

The day-long study is planned Wednesday at the state Capitol. Researchers with the state Department of Corrections and supporters of prison diversion programs are among those scheduled to speak.

Oklahoma leads the nation in the number of women in prison. In 2014, there were about 130 women incarcerated per 100,000 residents, compared to the national average of 67 per 100,000.

Shorter sentences and rehabilitation programs have been considered by lawmakers before. Most women in Oklahoma's state prison system are first-time offenders.

Officials say the high number of women in prison creates a negative ripple effect among the hundreds of young children who are left behind.