Shocking Oklahoma Prison Statistics

by Robin on December 16, 2009

I’ve been doing some prison ministry during the last three years. I am motivated by Jesus’ words, “I was in prison and you visited me.” Prison ministry has been one of the most meaningful things that I have done. It sure is suprising what happens when you think of prisoners as people rather than numbers.

Yesterday I went to a symposium at the Oklahoma State Capital about Oklahoma prison reform. I guess we do need to go back to the drawing board, seeing as how we have 25,000 people in prison in Oklahoma. We are about third in the nation for the number of people in our jails. We have more women incarcerated in relation to our total population than any other state.(Kansas has about 2/3 less people in jail than we do.)

Why is this? Because a few years ago we decided to “get tough on crime.” We started locking people up when there are other alternatives that work better, are better for people, and cost less. Speaking of cost, we spent 100 million dollars last year on our prisons in Oklahoma! (It costs between five and eight thousand dollars to send someone to drug treatment, it costs $25,000.00 to send them to prison for a year.)

We’ve got some hard work to do in Oklahoma on our prison system. Thank God for Senator Connie Johnson, who has introduced numerous pieces of legislation that address many of our problem areas. I pray that Ms. Johnson can make some headway for the sake of the 25,000, the thousands more that may be added to the system unnecessarily, and the taxpayers of Oklahoma.

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