Recent reports by the Pew Trust, Vera Institute and the Bureau of Justice
Statistics have highlighted continual alarming trends in sentencing practices
and incarceration within the United States. Although a few states have recently
experienced some net decline in total incarcerated offenders, the United
States continues to be number one in the world at 750 incarcerated per 100,000.
This translates to one in one hundred adults being incarcerated in some form.
Oklahoma’s rate is well above the national average and in 2005 it was
919 per 100,000.
It is obvious that the impact of the above statistics corresponds to increased spending and taxes directed toward incarceration. A recent audit of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections indicated that the main contributing factor to continuous net growth of the prison system was legislatively mandated enhancements to sentence length. Many of these enhancements are categorized as so called 85% crimes where an offender must serve 85% of his or her sentence before earned credits or parole can be considered. Research indicated that length of sentence has no statistical bearing on recidivism. The audit also indicated that Oklahoma places many non violent offenders in state prison that in many other states are sentenced to treatment programs, diverted to treatment and/or incarcerated at the local government level. The audit concluded that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections was one of the most efficient and cost effective in the nation. Being efficient is always a positive comment but being the most cost effective is not necessarily in the best interest of the state.
If a correctional system is said to be cost effective, one many times will assume the system’s costs are not increasing. In the case of Oklahoma, it is simply a matter of economy of scale. The costs are increasing and the daily per diem rate is slowly moving upward each year; but the fact that Oklahoma incarcerated women at twice the national average and is in fact currently first in the world and ranking third in men nationally, indicates our economy of scale is a good incarceration bargain. The current budget for Oklahoma corrections is a fraction over 500 million. Increase in medical and labor costs are the major contributors.
So how do you continue to find the funding to at best maintain the current prison population, much less the projected net increases of two to three percent per year for the next decade? The challenge may not be how to fund increased correction budgets but cost avoidance and retooling the criminal justice system. Oklahoma has by constitution a very strong and well defined revenue source for state government and a very poorly funded county government. When comparing Oklahoma’s incarceration rates with states of similar population there is always one glaring difference…local government autonomy and funding. In Oklahoma it is sometimes remarked that everyone deserves the right to go to prison. Since any felony for any length of sentence can go to prison in Oklahoma, then sometimes this remark is true. In many states non violent offenders with two or three year sentences must serve their sentence at the county level. These states also have local funding for diversion programs, treatment and other corrections’ best practices. In Oklahoma most funding for anything related to adult corrections is funded by the state and passed through a state agency. There are no incentives for offenders to be incarcerated at the local level so why would a county incur the cost when offenders can be sent to a state prison at no cost to the county. There is no statutory mandate that any adult felony offender has to serve his or her time at the county level, therefore the prisons often receive offenders with anywhere from 30 days to serve to many years on those aforementioned non violent cases. Cost avoidance through the use of prevention and appropriate county diversion programs would most certainly reduce net prison growth.
In Oklahoma, prosecuting attorneys or district attorneys are elected officials. The fact that they must be elected and run for re-election has the effect that each candidate must be tougher on crime that his or her opponent. Anecdotal cases where someone placed on probation subsequently committed a new crime is often used as campaign rhetoric against an incumbent. This is also true at the national level as many may remember the infamous Willie Horton case used against a presidential hopeful. Having prosecutors appointed by local boards would certainly allow for more evidenced based decision making on sentence type and length and contribute to cost avoidance.
The expansion of drug courts and mental health courts are certainly a move in the right direction when you are reviewing the cost avoidance of prison cost. However many offenders who have treatment needs and/or mental health issues do not statutorily qualify for these programs. The Department of Corrections program and treatment budget is less than 2% of its total budget with most treatment funds coming from grants. Research indicates that treatment programs in prison do reduce recidivism but funding for such programs even though requested, are not funded through the appropriations process.
Taking the Governor out of the parole process on at least all but violent offenses would be cost avoidance. Oklahoma is the last state to require the Governor to review, approve and sign all paroles. What all of these cost avoidance concepts have in common is the need for a new state constitutional convention. Our constitution is based upon a platform and culture of territorial law and certainly warrants a review.
So when discussions occur concerning increased funding to address Oklahoma’s ever increasing prison population, what in reality should be considered and enacted are cost avoidance measures and efforts in prevention. For that is the only way the next generation of Oklahomans will ever see declining prison population and no longer be first in women and third in male incarceration rates.
Greg Sawyer, has been named as the Chief of Departmental Services, reporting
to the Associate Director of Administration. Mr. Sawyer’s background
includes service as Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance with
the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and as Fiscal Director with
the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He has a bachelor’s degree from
Oklahoma State University and attended graduate school at the University
of Texas, Austin.
Effective April 1, 2008, Mr. Sawyer assumed responsibility for Finance and Accounting, Safety Administration, and Evaluation and Analysis.
Effective April 15, 2008, the Quality Assurance unit transferred from the Division of Treatment and Rehabilitative Services to the Division of Administration, and report to Mr. Sawyer.
Tina Hicks, was appointed the Administrator of Contracts and Acquisitions
effective September 1, 2007. Ms. Hicks comes to the Department of Corrections
with over 15 years of state experience from the Oklahoma State Department
Ms. Hicks has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and brings with her over seven years of contracting and acquisitions experience. She has spent the last five years serving as a Service Chief for the Oklahoma State Department of Health providing overall administration and oversight of Procurement Services.
Ms. Hicks achieved certification as a Procurement Officer in 2000. She is a member of the Oklahoma Association of Public Purchasers, and the National Institute of Governmental Purchasers.
Please join me in welcoming Ms. Tina Hicks to her new role as Administrator of Contracts and Acquisitions.
Prior to statehood in 1907, all felons convicted in Oklahoma Territory were transferred to Kansas, at a cost of 25 cents per day. After statehood, McAlester was chosen as the site for the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and 1,556 acres northwest of McAlester was set aside for the maximum security facility.
Construction began in 1908, when $850,000 was appropriated by the legislature. Inmates were returned from Kansas to do the work. The first buildings constructed at the site were the West Cellhouse and the Administration Building. Later, the Rotunda and the East Cellhouse were constructed. Additional buildings were constructed on an as-needed basis.
In order to provide work for the inmates, an industry program was developed. A tailor shop, shoe manufacturing plant and cane mill were among the first industry programs implemented.
As the population inside OSP grew, new housing units were added. The "F" cellhouse was added in 1937, and later the new cellhouse was constructed. Of the four main housing units occupied, only the new cellhouse no longer exists. This unit was severely damaged in the riot of 1973, and was torn down in 1976. Later, a 50-man disciplinary unit was built west of the main institution. The inmate population nicknamed this unit "The Rock."
The most costly prison riot in the history of the nation broke out on July 27, 1973. Damage was estimated to be between $20 million and $40 million.
A federal court in 1978 found conditions at the penitentiary unconstitutional. Consequently, four new housing units were built and in 1984 the aging East and West Cellhouses were closed.
The Talawanda Heights Minimum Security Unit was opened outside the East Gate Area in October of 1989 to house inmates utilized by the host facility in institutional support positions.
A Special Care Unit was opened July 20, 1992, to ensure that the needs of special management offenders are met. This unit provides mental health care to offenders, thereby reducing the need for long-term hospitalization outside the facility.
A medium security unit with a capacity of 140 inmates is located on "G" and "I" units. It is designed to provide a safe and secure environment for medium security inmates to more successfully adjust to the transition to a lower security classification.
The newest addition, "H Unit," provides new quarters for disciplinary segregation inmates, death row, and the lethal injection death chamber. H Unit also houses Administrative Segregation and Level III general population inmates.
Marty Sirmons received a Bachelor degee in Business Administration in 1978
from the University of Oklahoma. In 1981, he joined the Oklahoma Department
of Corrections as a Business Manager I at the Oklahoma State Reformatory.
He promoted through the positions of Business Manager II, Deputy Warden,
Warden, and Warden III. Mr. Sirmons was named Warden IV of the Oklahoma State
Pentitentiary on January 15, 2006.
The Mabel Bassett Correctional Center is the only maximum security institution for women in the state of Oklahoma. The center was originally located in northeast Oklahoma City, adjacent to the Department of Corrections’ Administration Building. Opened as a community treatment center in January, 1974, the center was changed to a medium security facility in 1978. In 1982, Mabel Bassett was converted to include maximum security. Offenders assigned to Mabel Bassett range from minimum security to Death Row.
Additionally, Mabel Bassett Correctional Center supervises the security of all Department of Corrections offenders requiring hospitalization, through an agency contract with the OU Medical Center. The unit also supervises the holding area where offenders from all Department of Corrections facilities are held awaiting medical appointments at the Medical Center.
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center houses the Assessment and Reception Center for females incarcerated in the state of Oklahoma. Mabel Bassett Assessment and Reception Center (MBARC) is a maximum security unit that receives females sentenced to prison by the courts. During the reception period that ranges from approximately ten to thirty days, staff determines through various assessments which Department of Corrections facility the offender will be assigned to and what program criteria they meet.
The education staff at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center meets individual needs of participating offenders and prepares them for positive return to society.
The education program is based on a five-tiered system. Based upon individual needs determined through diagnostic testing and sentence information, offenders are placed in an appropriate tier. The tiers include literacy, adult basic education, general equivalency diploma, college and life skills programs.
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center follows a five-week cycle master menu for females as developed by the Department of Corrections in coordination with Medical Services. Staff and offenders prepare all meals. There are two dining areas, one on each side of the compound. Meals are served as follows: breakfast: 5:30 a.m. until 7:00 a.m., lunch: 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m., and dinner: 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Offenders are allowed 20 minutes to eat their meal. No more than one cold meal is served per day.
The catering club is an additional component to the food services program at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. It affords the offenders the opportunity to have a hands-on culinary experience, while providing services at facility functions and events.
There are currently four diets available to offenders, diet for health (cardiac, diabetic, etc.), dental soft, and vegetarian/non-pork. Kosher diets are also available.
Additionally, the Offender Catering Club caters facility functions and teaches offenders culinary arts and etiquette.
HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center Health Services provides acute, chronic and preventative health care to the female offender population. Health Services is comprised of medical and dental services. Each offender receives a complete physical and dental assessment during the intake process with the establishment of care plans for acute and chronic conditions. Emergency care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by on-site medical staff. Sick call is available to offenders on a daily basis for routine care based on the triage and priority system. Medications are available through the pill line or allowed through the “keep on person” system for the offender.
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center has a fully operational laundry facility consisting of one staff member and 10 employed offenders. Along with the laundry facility, washers and dryers are available on each unit.
Mental Health Services’ staff is responsible for mental health care for all offenders assessed with a mental health need, to include those with acute and chronic mental health needs as well as those in need of placement on the mental health unit. Staffing consists of one (1) Mental Health Unit Coordinator/Psychologist, three (3) Psychologists, four (4) Psych Clinicians, one which provides services for community corrections offenders in Oklahoma County, and one (1) Administrative Technician.
The Department of Corrections and the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in a collaborative effort to assist offenders in their reentry/discharge planning through one Department of Corrections social services specialist as well as one Department of Mental Health discharge planner assigned at Mabel Bassett.
Religious Services provided at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center are under the direction of one facility Chaplain, who is assisted by three volunteer Chaplains. The Chaplain coordinates and schedules all religious activities and is responsible for the volunteer program. There are approximately seven acknowledged faiths and fifty-three (53) active services/programs. Approximately three hundred forty-five (345) active volunteers provide services at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. The Chaplain's office also provides individual and crisis counseling to offenders as needed. Individual counseling includes verification and notification to offenders of family members’ serious illness, accidents and/or deaths etc.
Visitation is conducted each Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., as well as holidays.
The day of assigned visiting is authorized based on security and earned credit level. Authorized visitors include immediate family members, clergy or friends. Visiting is supervised by correctional officers who are trained in effective communication, contraband and observation skills. All visitors have a complete background check for clearance into the facility. Special visits from attorneys, Department of Human Services, Office of Juvenile Affairs officials, and other court or special visits may be granted by the Warden.
CAGE YOUR RAGE
The Cage Your Rage class provides guidance to offenders for anger control. Offenders who can manage their anger and aggression create a more stable population and, in turn, a more secure facility. This class helps offenders who have difficulty dealing with anger. Cage Your Rage examines what anger is, explains its causes, and offers ways of managing it.
CANCER SUPPORT GROUP
The Cancer support group is composed of offenders who have had or currently have a diagnosis of cancer. The group provides emotional and spiritual support, education of coping skills, education regarding treatment options, education to help the offender monitor their overall general health and self awareness.
The CareerTech programs provide hands on instruction in skills related to transportation, distribution, and logistics; computer fundamentals; and electrical trade. The specific programs focused on reintegration are life skills, entrepreneurs (federal grant program), fundamentals of computers, business logistics and basic electricity.
CHILDREN AND MOTHERS PROGRAM (CAMP)
The Children and Mothers Program is intended to promote nurturing and bonding between incarcerated females and their children or grandchildren. A children's playroom is located in the visiting area and provides a space for board games, listening to music, reading books together, and other structured activities. Employees from Pottawatomie County Department of Health and the Oklahoma State University Extension office offer guidance to the incarcerated mothers. These staff direct, teach, and help in the unification of the family.
CHILDREN OF PROMISE / MENTORS OF HOPE
This program is a statewide initiative in Oklahoma that began at Mabel Bassett in March of 2005, and is provided through the University of Oklahoma Outreach program. The goal is to provide a warm, caring, nurturing volunteer adult as a mentor for a child who has a parent in prison and work to break the cycle of incarceration in Oklahoma families.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CLASS
The Domestic Violence class is a program provided by the Oklahoma City YWCA. It assists offenders with identifying the effects of domestic violence, ways to initiate personal change for overcoming trauma and to have a better understanding of the impact of family violence on the children.
EARLY CHILDHOOD PEER PARENTING
Peer Parenting Education Program, is a structured curriculum that is taught to the offenders by a peer educator. Peer educators must complete a college level course and earn one college credit as well as maintain classification level 3 or 4. Offenders are introduced to the basic ideas that guide current knowledge and theory in the area of understanding how to improve her relationship with her child while incarcerated and develop positive parenting skills.
The education program is based on a five tiered system. Based upon individual needs determined through diagnostic testing and sentence information, offenders are placed in an appropriate tier. The tiers include literacy, adult basic education, general equivalency diploma, college, and reintegration educational programs. In addition to the five levels of education provided, we also provide a Cognitive Systems Incorporated lab which is a computer-centered program that enhances learning style, focus, attention, lessens aggressive tendencies, and improves social skills.
ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM/ LIFE SKILLS
Training and Supporting Ex-Offenders as Entrepreneurs is a six month reintegration class that includes life skills, employment skills, and self-employment skills. This program provides practical life skills that will enable the offender to become a productive member of society by starting a small business. Classes are structured to ensure that offenders receive instruction in the selecting of a business structure, legal organization, writing a business plan, tools for successful living, meeting government requirements, self-esteem, character education, insurance and bonds, planning a work space, marketing, and so forth.
FAITH AND CHARACTER COMMUNITY PROGRAM
This program began March of 2007, with two hundred (200) participants. One hundred offenders participate in the faith component which includes offenders practicing in the faith of their choice. The additional one hundred offenders participate in the character component which teaches the positive behavior based on the Character First! forty-nine character traits. This year-long program is voluntary and designed for long-term medium security offenders. It is intended to modify behavior, both of the individual offender and of the offender population as a whole. The program, which provides a minimum of 30 hours a week of core programming, targets offenders with needs in areas such as anti-social attitudes, values or beliefs, anti-social behaviors, family relationship skills or anger management.
The program is supervised by one (1) staff program coordinator and two (2) staff program providers. Additionally, religious and other volunteers provide faith based and non-faith based evening programming.
HIV PEER EDUCATION
HIV Peer Education Program allows offenders (Peers) to teach other offenders about HIV prevention. Peer educators must complete a college level course and earn one college credit as well as maintain classification level 3 or 4. Offenders are instructed on HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, breast cancer, domestic abuse, self-care and emotional risk factors leading to risky behavior.
MEDIUM SECURITY SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT (SAT)
The SAT program is a six to seven month intensive residential program using the Wyberg curriculum Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Education. Participants attend group process nine hours weekly with additional programs assigned as deemed necessary. The concept of the Mabel Bassett Substance Abuse Treatment program is a medium security unit that involves treatment in a community setting. Offenders with social and behavioral deficiencies need the community atmosphere to strengthen and foster relationships with pro-social peers that are involved in the recovery process. The structure of the Mabel Bassett SAT is developed to encourage positive, socially acceptable behavior and attitudes. The program encourages the positive behavior with rewards and provides sanctions for negative behaviors.
MENTAL HEALTH ARTS AND CRAFTS THERAPY PROGRAM
The Mental health unit provides group psychotherapy (e.g., managing your mental illness, anger management, art therapy, interpersonal boundaries, mood management), skill-building classes (e.g., stress management, coping skills, substance abuse education) homeroom groups (topics include daily living activities, getting along with others), education (ABE, pre-GED for those unable to attend regular classes) and constructive activities (e.g., gym, current events, arts and crafts).
MOMMY AND ME
This literacy program, facilitated by a Mabel Bassett Correctional Center volunteer, affords incarcerated mothers the opportunity to read to their children even when the child is not visiting with mom. The offender selects a book and reads it into a tape recorder. The book and tape are then sent to the child for them to enjoy hearing a story from mom.
Mabel Bassett provides a six to eight week parenting program. The curriculum is Homes of Honor written by Gary Smalley.
PREVENTION RELATIONSHIP ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM
The Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) offers offender’s relationship education. It focuses on building lasting relationships with family, spouse and children. This is accomplished by learning skills to work through hard times. Key concepts are commitment, forgiveness, and conflict resolution.
RESIDENTIAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM (RSAT)
The RSAT program is offered on the Minimum Security Unit. The program provides services to 44 offenders who reside together in a housing pod separate from the general population. All participants must meet pre-determined criteria. Assessment tools including the Level of Service Inventory, Adult Substance Use Survey, and Addiction Severity Inventory help to identify client needs. This is an intense six to nine month treatment program that provides in-depth substance abuse recovery in a manner that is effective and productive for the incarcerated female. RSAT is a three phase (Substance Abuse Education, Recovery Group, and Strengthening Group) multi-group program confronting and reducing recidivism through changing thinking and behavior. Correcting both criminal and addictive behavior is emphasized. Treatment is provided by contract providers.
RIBBONS AND ROSES RUN
MBCC offenders are working in conjunction with the Project Women’s Coalition, a non-profit organization developed by the Oklahoma Cancer Center. This organization was created for the purpose of educating women about breast cancer. The “Ribbons and Roses Run” is an annual special event for the purpose of educating and training the offender population to recognize the early signs of breast cancer.
THINKING FOR A CHANGE
The Thinking for a Change program teaches offenders how to change their thinking patterns and behaviors. It provides valuable techniques to think through problems as opposed to reacting. As skills are gained, offenders have a wider range of options to choose from when critical thinking is necessary.
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, in collaboration with Central Workforce of Oklahoma and Drivers Training, Inc., provides a truck driving training program for offenders who are interested in being a self-employed trucking business owner or employee.
The first phase of the program consists of (80) eighty hours of classroom training for offenders who are within 24 months of discharge and will reside in Oklahoma or Canadian Counties upon release. Certified instructors from the Truck Driving, Inc. meets with participants once a week for three hours for (12) twelve weeks. The curriculum prepares the offender for the commercial driver’s license (CDL) exam.
Upon release from incarceration, the participants will spend two - three weeks training at the Driving Academy where they will gain hands-on truck driving experience. Upon completion, the students take the commercial driver’s license (CDL) examination. Once a license is obtained, the program providers aid in job placement for the offender.
Mabel Bassett is a host site for parole video-conferencing. The video parole process enables the offender to appear before the state Parole Board through use of an internet protocol address and video camera that broadcasts from Mabel Bassett to the parole board video site; located at Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The facility is also host to John Lilley Correctional Center; a minimum security male institution.
OKLAHOMA CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIES (OCI)
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center is the site of the customer service unit of the Oklahoma Correctional Industries division. Offenders along with salaried supervisors operate the customer service/telemarketing center. This center is responsible for taking state-wide OCI catalog orders, as well as the assembly and distribution of catalogs and mail-outs for the OCI marketing department, as well as the printing of the Department of Corrections “INSIDE CORRECTIONS” quarterly magazine.
Millicent Newton-Embry was introduced to corrections in 1982 working in the security unit at the Muskogee Community Corrections Center as part of a work study program while in college. In 1984, she became a Police Officer for the Muskogee Police Department. In 1987, she joined the Oklahoma Department of Corrections as a Probation and Parole Officer. She promoted through the positions of Resource Officer, Team Supervisor, Assistant District Supervisor and was appointed District Supervisor in July, 1997. Ms. Newton-Embry was named Warden III of the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center on March 15, 2004. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern State University in 1984.
The Joseph Harp Correctional Center is a medium security institution located near the town of Lexington, in central Oklahoma. The facility officially opened on September 26, 1978, and received its first inmates two days later. The site of the facility had been used by the Navy as a firing range during World War II. After the war, the land was turned over to the Mental Health Department, which in turn transferred it to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in 1971.
Joseph Harp Correctional Center is named in honor and memory of Warden Joseph Harp who served as warden at the Oklahoma State Reformatory from 1949 until 1969. Warden Joseph Harp was clearly an innovative leader and professional in the field of corrections. Under Warden Harp, Oklahoma State Reformatory was the first institution to establish a fully accredited academic High School behind prison walls. Warden Harp recognized that one of the greatest needs of many inmates was a high school education. As early as 1950, Warden Harp proposed in a legislative report the need for: A Department of Corrections; a merit system of employment; a statewide probation system staffed with competent officers who would make pre-sentence investigations; a reception center for all felons coming into prison system; and a full time pardon and parole board.
Because strong family and community ties increase the likelihood that the offender will succeed after release, visits are encouraged.
• Visiting hours are on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The duration of the visit as well as the time of the visit is determined by the assigned level of the inmate.
The dining facility is the largest in the state, with a seating capacity of 420. An average of 2,906 meals is served daily. Food Service employs 110 offenders.
The laundry provides services to offender population Monday through Friday. These services include issuance of state clothing and bedding. Washers and dryers are also available on each unit.
The Law Library is adequately accessible to offenders providing access and necessary materials such as typewriters, copy machine, notary public and offender research assistance.
The Medical unit provides services to offenders on a 24/7 basis. Medical services provided include: sick call, blood pressure checks, Chronic Care Clinic, emergency service, psychological, psychiatric, ophthalmology, dental services, x-rays, and lab services are also available.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Services provided include medication management, suicide prevention, individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and psycho-educational groups. Once an offender is stable, the treatment team determines if the offender can return to the general population or if they will be referred to the Intermediate Care Housing Unit.
The Habilitation Center Program (HCP) admits offenders with IQ scores below 70 and major deficits in adaptive functioning. Additionally, other developmental disabilities and offenders with dementia or other cognitive impairments are served. The program provides training in life skills, job skills, pro-social behaviors, decision-making, functional reading and math skills, and addresses criminal behaviors such as substance abuse and sex offenses. Individual psychotherapy, crisis management, suicide prevention, and medication monitoring are also provided.
The Education department includes academic education, library services and a future pre-employment training program. The academic program includes literacy, special needs, ABE, GED, ESL, and college programs. Library services support a leisure library for offenders. Education also includes a pre-release class for offenders related to general life skills and a program for offenders who are within a year of release who seek to be their own boss.
These services are designed to help offenders meet their religious needs during their incarceration. This is accomplished in numerous ways: by volunteers from various faith groups coming in to conduct regular religious services; and special events such as concerts and tent meetings under the tower, helping the Islamic community with Ramadan and the Id feasts, assisting when offenders have a death in the family, assisting with weddings, and arranging special ministerial visits.
OKLAHOMA CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIES (OCI)
OCI began operations at JHCC in 1979 with the manufacturing of furniture for state and local governments and non-profit organizations. Since that time other service and manufacturing functions have been added. OCI employs 11 correctional industries staff and more than 250 inmates.
The furniture factory produces a varied line of office furniture including desks, filing cabinets, bookcases, credenzas, and chairs. The records conversion department includes a remote data entry operation, a batch entry operation building database and an imaging operation that provides document images in digital form to customers on compact disk or electronically. The computer operations section provides statewide repair of all OCI computer equipment.
Mike Addison graduated from Northeastern State University in 1976 with a
Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Psychology. He began his career
with the Department of Corrections in July 1977, as a correctional officer
and obtained the rank of Sergeant in 1978.
In 1979, he was promoted to case manager and laterally transferred to the Horace Mann Community Treatment Center. In 1980, he transferred to Jess Dunn Correctional Center and served as employment counselor until 1985. Mike then transferred to Ouachita Correctional Center as a case manager. In 1987, he held the position of administrative officer (Disciplinary Chairperson) and was promoted to case manager supervisor in 1988. He became the deputy warden at Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center in 1989 and served as warden from August 1993 until August 2002 at which time he was named as warden at Joseph Harp Correctional Center.
Warden Addison is a member of the Oklahoma Correctional Association, American Correctional Association, and American Legion. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Heavener Chamber of Commerce and the City of Heavener Park Board.
The legislature created the Oklahoma State Reformatory (OSR) in 1909. The construction of OSR was accomplished with prisoner labor. The construction material was primarily granite rock from the Reformatory's own mountain, "Wildcat Mountain." There are no original buildings on the ten-acre walled compound. The oldest structure on the yard is the first floor of the school building (Lakeside High School) built in 1921, with an upper floor added in 1949. All other buildings were built since 1957.
OSR’s first female Warden, Clara Waters, was the first female Warden in the United States to head a state prison, and the first female to head an all-male prison. Ms. Waters served as Warden at the Reformatory for nine years after being appointed by Gov. Henry S. Johnston in 1927, when she was 37. She brought five years of experience with her (gained from helping her husband, Dr. George Waters, in that job earlier). She required all convicts (inmates), hard-boiled and errant youngsters alike, to attend Sunday church services. She organized Bible classes, literary societies, set up a recreation program and an education program to teach each inmate a trade. This program eventually evolved into Lakeside School, the first fully accredited “behind-the-walls” high school in the United States.
As additional history, famous aviator and Oklahoman, Wiley Post once served time at OSR. In 1921 he was convicted and sentenced to ten years for stealing a car, but was paroled after one year.
The OSR Kitchen was the first kitchen within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to become grease free and knife free in preparation of meals. Food Service personnel take great pride in producing food of outstanding quality in a clean and sanitized preparation area, as well as providing a clean and orderly dining area.
OSR Food Services prepares an average of 93,000 meals per month at a daily cost of $2.34. The work force in this area is approximately 80 inmates and 12 staff members. The seating capacity of the dining area is 220, providing each offender the opportunity of 20 minutes dining time for each meal.
OSR Medical Services provides medical, dental and psychiatric services to all OSR inmates, five Southwest Oklahoma Work Centers, and two contracted county jails.
Activities available in the OSR gymnasium are: basketball, volleyball, pool, ping pong, and handball. General Population inmates are allowed access to the gymnasium according to posted schedules. Activities available at housing units include: basketball, isometric work stations, board games, and cards. The recreation program is supervised by three full time employees, one Correctional Activities Officer II and two Correctional Activities Officer I’s.
The OSR Chapel provides the facility with an exclusive area for the faith and religious needs of the inmate population seven days a week. Each of the 30 services held weekly provides the inmate population with a variety of different denominational or faith belief services. Two Faith Based Cognitive Change programs are also provided on a weekly basis in the Chapel.
OCI GARMENT FACTORY
The OCI Garment Factory located at OSR currently employs 70 inmates. The factory produces all inmate clothing and linens used within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
OCI AGRI-SERVICES VEHICLE MAINTENANCE FACILITY:
The Oklahoma State Reformatory Agri-Services Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance Facility is a full service garage responsible for servicing and maintaining the fleet in excess of 60 vehicles as well as heavy farm equipment, small engine mowing equipment and other equipment for Oklahoma State Reformatory and Agri-Services. The Garage also services vehicles and equipment for other Department of Corrections facilities as well as other state agencies as requested.
OCI AGRI-SERVICES AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS:
Agri-Services is responsible for the production of agriculture related operations. Agri-Services farm operation employs 40 offenders. These offenders are placed on one of the following crews: Cowboy Crew (works and maintains cattle and horses), Tractor Crew (plows, plants, maintains hay production and grinds feed for Agri-Services feed lots), Utility Crews (general farm repairs, mends fences, hauls hay and maintains weed control of all fence lines).
ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL PROGRAMMING LITERACY
This program targets individual inmates whose reading skill level is below 6.0 as measured by the Test of Adult Basic Education at the time of entry into the education program. Certificates are awarded upon completion of the program based on achievement of a reading skill level of 6.0 or above.
ADULT BASIC EDUCATION
This program targets individual inmates whose total battery performance level is below 8.9 and their reading level is too high to qualify for the Literacy program at the time of entry into the education program as determined by the Test of Adult Basic Education. Certificates are awarded upon completion of the program based on achievement of a total battery score of 9.0 or above.
This program targets individual inmates whose total battery performance level is above 8.9. Certificates are issued upon passing the official G.E.D. Examination and being certified by the State Department of Education.
HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
This program targets individuals who lack one or two units of credit completing their standard high school diploma and who are expected to remain in the population long enough to complete the necessary course requirements. The high school program provides the foundation for accreditation of the Department of Corrections school system by the State Department of Education and the North Central Association.
This program targets individual inmates who have a confirmed high school diploma or G.E.D. Certificate and have demonstrated the “ability to benefit” from college (Associate Degree) program by passing the entrance exam of Western Oklahoma State College. In addition, candidates for this program must be recommended for scholarship funding by the OSR Scholarship Screening Committee and commit to remaining at the institution until the Associate Degree program is completed.
This program targets individual students who already hold confirmed high school diplomas or GED certificates and who wish to learn basic barbering skills. Trainees provide hair care services to the institutional population and receive certificates of completion after 600 clock hours of instruction if they pass all written and practical performance exams to the satisfaction of the instructor.
CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS CENTER (CIMC) LIFE SKILLS
CIMC Life Skills is a nine-component program which provides inmates information for developing and/or enhancing basic life skills intended to help offenders function better upon re-entry into society.
The education staff provides this program. In addition, each educational program provides an intensified learning program for offenders who are not enrolled in school.
VOCATIONAL UPHOLSTERY PROGRAM
This program targets individual inmates who already hold a confirmed high school diploma or G.E.D. certificate and who wish to learn basic furniture and automotive upholstery skills. Students complete upholstery projects for government agencies, schools, and non-profit organizations. Students receive a certificate of completion after 600 clock hours of instruction and passing all written and practical exams to the satisfaction of the instructor.
VOCATIONAL WELDING PROGRAM
OSR hosts two welding instructors who provide 960 hours of training and certification in various forms of welding. CareerTech also has follow-up employment counseling to assist with reintegration.
The Leisure Library is open Monday through Friday and access is granted in accordance with a posted schedule. The Library contains over 12,000 books, both hard back and paperback. In addition to these books, the Library subscribes to approximately 50 separate magazines and a number of newspapers. A stand-alone computer, with programs of both entertainment and education is also available for inmate use. The Librarian delivers books to inmates assigned to segregated housing on a weekly basis. The Minimum Security Unit has a Library that consists of over 300 books. The Librarian exchanges these books on a regular schedule and provides specific books upon request, if available. Weekend and evening services are provided on all units by inmates assigned as “pod librarians” through the use of carts and/or trays. Books are exchanged at least quarterly.
The Oklahoma State Reformatory Law Library provides an avenue for inmates to obtain legal assistance from trained inmate research assistants. Inmates are provided this service to assist them in cases related to conditions of confinement and post conviction relief. Legal reference materials are provided as required by OP-030115. The Law Library is open five days per week.
Eric Franklin, began his career with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in 1984. During his career in corrections, he has held the positions of Correctional Officer, Sergeant, Correctional Counselor, Captain, Unit Manager, Warden’s Assistant and Assistant Inspector General. Mr. Franklin served on the Department of Corrections Executive Staff as the Administrator of Internal Affairs from 1996-1998. He served as Deputy Warden of the James Crabtree Correctional Center until he was asked to head a pilot project by serving as Warden of the Jess Dunn and Eddie Warrior Correctional Centers in Taft. In 2003 Mr. Franklin was promoted to Warden II and served as Warden at James Crabtree Correctional Center until 2006. On January 18, 2006, Mr. Franklin accepted the position at Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite as Warden III.
The Lexington Correctional Center was opened in 1971. It consisted of a collection of wooden naval barracks hastily constructed during late World War II. It initially had a capacity of 120 inmates.
Although the facility opened in 1971, it remained obscure with virtually no documented history until 1977 when the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center (LARC) opened adjacent to the Lexington Correctional Center (LCC). Since the opening of LARC, both LARC and LCC have been under purview of a common warden and have become virtually synonymous. Most staff refer to the reception unit as “LARC” (pronounced “lark”) and the remaining housing units as “Lex.”
The Lexington Assessment and Reception Center began construction in 1976 as a part of the Oklahoma Master Plan, authored by F. Warren Benton, Ph.D. The maximum security receiving, medical, support services, and administrative core building composed Phase I; Phase II constituted three medium security housing units.
The official opening of the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center was attended by then Governor David L. Boren and Lieutenant Governor George Nigh, after construction completion in December, 1977. The Lexington Assessment and Reception Center designed and implemented the Regimented Inmate Discipline Program (RID) in 1983. RID was the first paramilitary program of its kind in the United States. Since that time, RID has had much national and international attention and has been featured in national publications and symposiums.
Lexington Food Service feeds approximately 1,450 offenders per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. Lexington Food Service is self sufficient in baking all of our bakery/bread products from Pullman bread to hamburger and hotdog buns to cakes and pies and even breakfast pastries.
Our medical unit provides service 24-hours a day. We have a 10-bed infirmary, of which 4 are isolation cells with negative air flow and one has an in-cell camera for continuous observation.
The Chaplaincy Program at LARC is dedicated to guaranteeing the religious freedom of the offenders incarcerated at the facility and assisting in the practice of such. The Chaplaincy performs those traditional roles assigned to the Chaplaincy, which include ministry, community religious resources, volunteer coordination, and administration and related concerns. In one month there are 155 different religious services conducted at the LARC and RTMU chapels. Space is provided on Unit 8 for Sunday services and Muslim services, and trained volunteers go to A&R on the weekends.
Offender Work Programs
Lexington Assessment and Reception Center provides job opportunities for both the medium and minimum security offenders. A significant amount of the minimum security offenders are assigned to the Prisoner Public Work Program crews. All inmates at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center are required to have a job. The following work programs are available for the offender population.
Prisoner Public Work Program (PPWP)
Some of the most sought after jobs are on the PPWP crews in the communities surrounding the facility. In addition to the OP-090106 that governs the criteria for the PPWP crews, LARC requires the following criteria: No violent offenders, meets medical standards, earned credit level of 2 or higher, minimum security and no more than 7,300 days, good personal hygiene and behavior. The number of offender participants varies but currently five crews with approximately 38 slots are working five days a week for the following agencies: City of Noble, City of Lexington, Department of Mental Health, OCI, and OMD – Heliport.
Oklahoma Correctional Industries (OCI)
It is the policy of the LARC that OCI operate on a basis comparable to private industry within the restraints imposed by the prison industrial environment. Correctional Industries can provide work and training for offenders while they are incarcerated. Staff operating offender work programs use the advice and assistance of labor, business, and industrial organizations to assist in providing skills relevant to the job market. The Oklahoma Correctional Industries at LARC provides offenders with the following: (1) a constructive work program for offenders on a cost paying basis; (2) provides offenders with an opportunity to learn job skills and develop work habits that will help improve their success rate when re-entering the work force; and (3) maintains good business practices, which enable full compliance with all applicable state statues, and Department of Corrections’ policies and procedures.
The LARC Agri-Services Unit is one of the 10 Agri-Services units statewide that functions as a group to provide 100% of the Department’s need for meat, milk, and eggs at an efficient, and economical level by making the most resourceful use of land, equipment and offender workforce.
The LARC unit is a beef cow/calf production. When the calves are weaned they are sent to western units where they mature on wheat pasture. The Unit, with proper weed control and fertilization supports an average total herd of 380 head (cows, calves, and bulls). Offenders working on this unit are trained in proper livestock handling procedures, livestock nutrition requirements, assisting in difficult births and livestock health maintenance procedures. They perform the maintenance on farm buildings, fences, and machinery. They also construct new fences and buildings as needed. They irrigate Bermuda grass pasture from the third stage sewage lagoon, which controls the water volume and saves the department thousands of dollars that would have to be spent to construct a self contained sewage lagoon system. They clear timber that is cut into firewood and sold to the public to offset clearing expenses. Improved varieties of pasture grass are then established on the cleared land.
Career Tech Skills Center
The Lexington Career Tech Skills Center is located on the grounds of LARC. Students are from the medium-security yard at LARC.
Numerous efforts have been made to assist the ex-offender with integration back into society by means of vocational training. The purpose is to make the individual self-sufficient so that he will not have to rely on criminal activities for his support. Gaining a vocational skill also improves the self-image, giving the offender a kind of self-confidence they have not known before. Our teaching methods augment this philosophy by encouraging a sense of increased responsibility and maturity. Since the inception of the school in 1972, more than 5,000 students have completed the training.
Programs Offered at the Lexington Career-Tech Skills Center
The Licensed Trades Academy (LTA) allows long term offenders the opportunity to learn a skill and enhance their educational level through Career-tech and applied academics, while working toward a professional license. This program will provide skilled and educated workers for the maintenance departments of the Department of Corrections’ facilities and for the Oklahoma Correctional Industries’ house building project.
The Cabinetmaking Apprenticeship Program trains workers to journeyman level in the cabinetmaking trade, covering all aspects of woodwork and design, using all types of machines, saws, planer, jointers, and power nailing tools, with emphasis on safety in all aspects of the skill. Students completing this program will be journeyman workers with certification under the Department of Labor Apprenticeship standards.
The Modular Home Construction Academy Program is designed to teach and provide hands-on training in the construction of frame houses. Cognitive and psychomotor skills will be taught in the area of safety, wood framing, siding, roofing, and other areas of residential house framing. The Cognitive phase will be major mathematics, psychomotor skills will be measured by how every phase is completed; projects will be assigned that relate to the particular phase.
LARC offers a variety of pre-release programs which are available to all offenders.
Keys to Successful Life Choices
Assists offenders to reintegrate into society. This program assists in preparing offenders to balance a checkbook, buy a new car, rent an apartment, etc.
Thinking For a Change:
This program is designed to assist in the modification of negative behavior.
Sex Offender Education / Treatment Program:
This is a 16 week program which is a requirement for all sex offenders as defined by DOC policy. Strictly informational in nature, it was designed as a prerequisite to the Sex Offender Treatment Program at Joseph Harp Correctional Center. The two hour classes are provided by the facility psychologist to offenders at medium and minimum security. The average class size is 10.
Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program:
This program brings college students (primarily criminal justice majors) and incarcerated men and women to study as peers in seminars behind prison walls. The program provides a life altering experience that allows undergraduate students to contextualize and rethink what they have learned in the classroom, gaining insights that will help them to better pursue the work of creating a more effective, human and restorative criminal justice system. The Inside students have an opportunity to think about how their actions have affected their families, their victims, and their victims’ families. The class meets in the visiting room for 15 weeks and covers topics such as: what are prisons for, prison life, and issues of victims and victimization.
Training and Supporting
Ex-Offenders as Entrepreneurs
The avoidance of recidivism is directly linked to finding a means of supporting one’s self and family. This program aims to facilitate the successful re-entry of offenders through a programmatic series of intensive life skills curricula, entrepreneurial training, and focused community support. The tasks of the evaluation component of this project are to assess the degree to which these intervention strategies enhance the success of program participants and to determine how offender characteristics or “profiles” influence their responsiveness to treatment.
Phase I Truck Driving Training:
A new aspect of this program is to incorporate 80 hours of classroom training for men who are within 24 months of discharging, to earn a CDL Licensure. Certified instructors from the Driver Training School teach participants the information needed to pass the commercial driver’s license exam. Upon release, the ex-offender will complete the “hands on” portion of the training so that the ex-offender can successfully earn a CDL and seek job placement. This program is funded through the Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board and will provide funds for the training at no cost to the Department of Corrections.
Friends For Folks (FFF):
Friends for Folks works in conjunction with Second Chance animal rescue. This program is designed to help long term offender’s deal with their time. The offenders train dogs for elderly people in the public. This program is actually a two-fold effort to help dogs from being euthanized and the offenders learning a productive skill, which helps them to contribute something back into society. The total placement for dogs trained in 2007, was 12. The program also offers a 30 day High Intensity Training (HIT) program. This program is offered to the public. In return for training a dog, we request a donation to the FFF program. Funding for this program is received primarily through donations. In 2007, 35 dogs were trained through the H.I.T. program.
Warden Workman began his career with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections as a case manager at the Mack Alford Correctional Center in January 1986, and later transferred to the Howard McLeod Correctional Center. In November 1987, he was named Administrative Officer of Procedures at the facility. He was promoted to unit manager in January 1989, at Howard McLeod Correctional Center. While serving as unit manager until September 1997, he was detailed to perform the duties of deputy warden and health services administrator at that location. In September 1997, he was promoted to deputy warden at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. During his service as deputy warden he was detailed to perform the duties of deputy director of Medical Services from January 1999, to April 1999. In November 2000, Workman was promoted to Warden at R.B. “Dick” Connor Correctional Facility in Hominy. Since April 1, 2004, Workman has been the Warden at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.
Warden Workman has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He is married to his grade school sweetheart and they have two daughters and four grandchildren.
APRIL 17, 2008
The Correctional Training Academy in Wilburton hosted a graduation ceremony
on April 17, 2008, for Correctional Officer Cadet Class WC011408. The 40
cadets in this class successfully completed the required 240 hours of pre-service
instruction. Sixteen different facilities ranging from maximum to community-level
security, had students inWC011408.
The staff of the Correctional Training Academy in Wilburton would like to commend the Class of WC011408 on a job well done and wish them the best of luck in their careers with the Department of Corrections.
Tulsa County District CC
Jess Dunn CC
Outstanding Custody & Control
Jess Dunn CC
TOMAS MUNOZ JR.
Jackie Brannon CC
The American Correctional Association and the Commission on Accreditation
for Corrections are private, non-profit organizations which administer the
only national accreditation program for all components of adult and juvenile
corrections. The purpose of these organizations is to promote improvement
in the management of a voluntary accreditation program and the ongoing development
and revision of relevant, useful standards.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections' involvement in the accreditation process began in 1979. Oklahoma became one of the first states to begin the accreditation process for all institutions along with probation and parole. This was followed by the Community Corrections Centers and Central Office.
The Department of Corrections has continued its quest for excellence by maintaining the accreditation of its major institutions, Probation and Parole Field Services and Community Corrections Center.
LEXINGTON ASSESSMENT AND RECEPTION CENTER
MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
NON-MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
NON-MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
NON-MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
NON-MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
JIM E. HAMILTON
MANDATORY STANDARDS 100%
NON-MANDATORY STANDARDS 99.3%
Melanie Ratcliff, LPN,
at Howard McLoud Correctional Center
Q: Where did you attend nursing school?
A: McPherson Hospital, LPN school in Howell Michigan.
Q: What kind of work did you do prior to coming to the Department of Corrections?
A: Office Nursing, Part-time scrub nurse, and Full-time mom.
Q: What do you like best about correctional nursing?
A: It’s not a boring job. You never know what your day will consist of. There are a variety of injuries and illnesses that test your nursing skills, from the common cold to snake bites.
Q: How long have you worked in the Department of Corrections?
A: 11 years.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: Watching my boys play sports, fishing, and gardening.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about nursing or correctional
A: Nursing is a wonderful field to get into. You have so many choices and opportunities in the nursing field, from supervisory positions, teaching, to the actual patient care itself. You are ever learning as new treatments and medicines come available.
Michelle Crisp, RN,
at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center
Q: Where did you attend nursing school?
A: I attended LPN school at Red River Technology Center, and then received my RN at Western Oklahoma State College.
Q: What kind of work did you do prior to coming to the Department of Corrections?
A: Before coming to the Department of Corrections, I worked full time in a hospital. I had the opportunity to experience nursing on the orthopedic, medical/surgical, and ICU floors. In addition, I worked part time as an agency nurse. I traveled to different facilities to work. Most of the time I worked at specialty hospitals.
Q: What do you like best about correctional nursing?
A: At this time, I am undecided on what I like best about correctional nursing due to my short length of employment.
Q: How long have you worked for the Department of Corrections?
A: I have worked approximately 3 weeks for the Department of Corrections.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy listening to music, shopping – of course, and church. And I love basketball.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about nursing or correctional
A: I am very interested and excited about having the opportunity to experience correctional nursing. Nursing is great because there is a variety of areas you can work in nursing. I am glad I chose correctional nursing. I have a feeling that I am going to like it!
by Debbie Boyer, SPHR
Administrator of Quality Assurance
Welcome to the first Quality Assurance Chat!
As you may know, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Quality Assurance
System provides a system for the continuous review and evaluation of all
areas operated by the department or by a provider under contract with the
department in an effort to ensure: (1) the best allocation of resources;
(2) the most efficient and effective operations based on continuous improvement;
and (3) creation and delivery of quality (best practice), results-driven
programs and services to better fulfill the department’s vision and
The Quality Assurance System includes three components: (1) An Organizational Review Process which utilizes panels of internal and external subject matter experts to conduct comprehensive examinations of operational areas (work performed, reasons for the work performed, processes utilized to perform the work, how these processes can be improved, and how these processes can be measured) and make recommendations for improvement; (2) Quality Councils responsible for chartering Process Action Teams to address problems, issues, or work processes; and (3) delivery of training in quality awareness, teams, tools, and techniques as well as team facilitation skills.
This column will feature interviews with department staff who are utilizing quality teams, tools, and techniques to continually improve their operations.
Interview with Dan Reynolds, Administrator of Community Corrrections/Work Centers
Dan Reynolds graciously agreed to “chat” about his experiences with Process Action Teams and Organizational Reviews, and here is what Dan had to say . . .
Q: How have you used Quality Assurance teams, tools, and techniques to empower
employees and make improvements in your division?
A: The Division of Community Corrections has used Quality Assurance teams to make improvements in several areas, i.e., correctional officer uniform appearance; escape definition and escape processes in community corrections; escape reductions; Tulsa Correctional Emergency Response Teams, etc.
Q: What were the results of these efforts?
A: The correctional officer uniform appearance team made a series of recommendations to enhance the overall appearance of correctional officer’s uniforms for those assigned to community corrections centers and community work centers. The recommendations are included in the most current policy drafts which are pending approval. Surveys were developed and distributed to community corrections correctional officers, and various styles and fabrics were tested for comfort, suitability and durability. The team received a noticeable mention during the State of Oklahoma Quality Day at the State Capital.
The Community Corrections Escape Process Action Team has added detailed and specific information regarding the definition of escape, the process to be followed during an escape, and the duties and responsibilities of personnel when an escape occurs. Apprehension procedures have also been defined in detail which provides more efficient, effective methods in apprehending offenders.
The Tulsa Correctional Emergency Response Team Organizational Review Panel recommended the elimination of the Tulsa Correctional Emergency Response Team. It also recommended the establishment of a uniform protocol for community corrections escapes. This resulted in the formation of another team as mentioned above to address specific issues regarding escapes. The protocol will address the definition of escape in the community corrections setting, reporting requirements, district chain of command, and time frames for reporting. An escape analysis was developed for all escapes during the 2006 calendar year to identify patterns and problem areas. It was also determined only CLEET certified staff will be utilized to follow-up on leads in the community.
Fugitive agents have relocated to the Tulsa area to assist in the location and apprehension of escapees and absconders. Recommended changes to agency policy regarding the escape process have been submitted.
Another process action team is currently meeting to address the objective of reducing escapes, primarily from halfway houses.
Q: Would you recommend the use of these teams, tools, and techniques to others?
Q: If so, why?
A: This process has shown to be an effective tool in problem solving techniques and the identification of particular problem(s), which requires decision making based on specific data. This process is an excellent tool for complicated and multifaceted issues. The only disadvantage to this process is the time it takes for data gathering and meeting with team members.
Q: Any other comments?
A: I am very satisfied with the results of the action teams. It allows experts in the field to have input into the solutions of issues they deal with on a daily basis. It allows them the ability to submit recommendations which will enhance their overall efficiency for their work area, as well as the agency.
We have also invited personnel from the Quality Assurance Unit to provide training to all unit Corrections Chiefs of Security on the process of identifying and resolving difficult issues and problems. Many of the Chiefs have completed further in-depth training on the process.
The Quality Assurance Unit is comprised of dedicated personnel that take personal interest to enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of all areas of the agency. They are to be commended on a job well done!
Health disparities also called health inequalities refer to gaps in the
quality of health and health care across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic
populations. Health disparities propagate from lack of insurance coverage,
lack of financial resources, legal and structural barriers, linguistic and
literacy barriers, ageism, racism and sexism; and a lack of diversity in
the health care workforce. Examples of health inequalities include higher
rates of morbidity and mortality, and the increased likelihood of being diagnosed
with a physical and or mental health disorder. Moreover, it is increasingly
disturbing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,
March 2008), that African Americans bear the greatest burden of HIV infection.
African American men have an HIV diagnosis rate more than 7 times that for Caucasian males and more than twice the rate for Hispanic males. The diagnosis rate for Hispanic males was approximately three times that for white males. Indeed, African American females are also crucially and disproportionately affected by HIV disease. In 2006, the HIV diagnostic rate for black women was more than 19 times the rate for white women and the seroprevalence rate of infection in Hispanic women was 5 times that for white females (CDC, March 2008). Among American Indians, the rate of HIV diagnosis for men was slightly higher than the rate for white males, and the rate for females was nearly twice the rate for white females.
While race and ethnicity by themselves are not risk factors for acquiring or transmitting HIV, there are many complex historical and cultural factors that increase vulnerability for African Americans. For example, the U.S. Public Health Services conducted the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment between 1932 and 1972 on 399 black men- all who were in late stages of the sexually transmitted disease known as syphilis. These men, all sharecroppers, were deliberately denied Penicillin (approved as an effective antibiotic in 1943) the first real cure for syphilis, for the greater good of science (to chart the course of untreated syphilis). As a result of this atrocious and racist experiment, 128 men died from syphilis or from complications of syphilis, 40 women were infected and 19 women had babies born with congenital syphilis. Under the glare of publicity, whistle blowers broke the story to the Washington Press in 1972 and the men were finally adequately treated (James, 1993). However, given this grim historical perspective, it takes little imagination to understand why some people may have a lack of trust in Public Health agencies, making it more difficult to reach culturally diverse populations with prevention messages.
Another, more modern example of health disparity is equally disturbing. A recent survey conducted in Science Daily (March 31, 2008) reveal HIV positive women in the United States face alarmingly high levels of discrimination such as, “pervasive negative views” and a profound “discomfort in interacting” with an HIV positive woman. This survey highlights the need to pay attention to the path of women living with HIV/AIDS and heightens awareness to the new AIDS diagnosis cases (27%) in women (mostly African American and Hispanic) up from 8% in 1985.
Not only are women more biologically receptive to HIV disease, but stigma and widespread social and gender inequality increases the difficulty to reduce HIV infection risk.
Muriel Irwin, began her career with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) in 1989 as a correctional officer. Since that time she has held different positions to include sergeant, case manager and her current job as the training officer at the Oklahoma State Reformatory. She currently has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Muriel has been married to Daniel Irwin ,(also a DOC employee), since 1982 and they have two sons, ages 25 and 22. Daniel, the oldest, is a member of the US Army in Fort Gordon, Georgia. Bryan is a police officer in Hobart.
The couple own a business that sells printed shirts and jackets and have been involved in this venture for nearly eight years.
Muriel, a career soldier with 18 years of service, departed from Ft. Bliss, Texas in January of 2008, for a 12-month tour in Baghdad, Iraq. Her military occupation is a military paralegal specialist and she will serve in that capacity while in Iraq. She recently completed her legal internship, while attending the University of Oklahoma’s School of Law, at our own ODOC Legal Unit.
According to her husband, “Muriel is a devoted and spiritually committed woman and is a living example of what would be a perfect wife. She is sure in every step and fearless in her convictions. She will serve the country with the same steadfast dedication that she has given the Department of Corrections over the years.”
by Reginald Hines, Deputy Director
Division of Community Corrections
This paper addresses a proposed initiative to divert (from prison, jail,
probation or prosecution) a proportion of minorities from criminal justice
involvement. We explore the context of prosecutorial discretion as a mechanism
to redirect low risk, non-violent individuals accused of criminal behavior
to non-prison sanctions. Additionally, we speak to the issue of disproportionate
and lower socioeconomic minorities who are involved in the criminal justice
system. Finally, we present a chart of alternative practices, which indeed
are alternatives to incarceration.
The issue of adult minority overrepresentation in the criminal justice system challenges public policy makers, communities and criminal justice practitioners. Professionals need to find effective and impartial solutions to reduce the reliance on incarceration or other forms of criminal justice involvement. Research studies and literature reviews on minority overrepresentation in the criminal justice system are substantial. Ongoing public and policy debate regarding the cause for the high concentration of minorities in the system has yielded various conclusions such as: racial disparity and discrimination, indifference to the negative racial consequences of crime control policies, criminal behavior which leads to imprisonment, poverty, sentencing practices, and the absence of programs targeted to reduce recidivism. The failure to exercise discretionary authority to divert minorities from the criminal justice system and lack of policies and guidelines to monitor and remedy racial disparities in the criminal justice system is astounding.
Racial and ethnic minority groups are over-represented in all levels of the criminal justice system. Over-representation occurs when a greater percentage of a particular racial or ethnic demographic is within a community’s criminal justice population.
Disturbingly, Blacks or Latinos represented 60% of state and federal inmate populations, while Whites accounted for 35% of the inmate population. At the end of 2005, Black males (547,200) outnumbered incarcerated White (459,700) and Latino male (279,000) inmates with a sentence of more than one year. Disproportionately, 40% of all male inmates sentenced to more than one year in prison were Black. An estimated 8% (106,600) of Black males, ages 25 to 29 were in prison in 2005, compared to 2.6% (59,600) of Latino males and 1.1% (67,000) white males. Female incarceration rates reveal similar racial and ethnic differences. Black females represent an incarceration rate of 156 per 100,000 and were more than twice as likely as Latino females who incarcerate at 76 per 100,000. Indeed, Latino female incarcerates were 3 times more likely than White females (45 per 100,000) to serve time in prison. When the prison population is broken down by offense, in particular drug offenses, Blacks represent 24% of the inmates in state prisons, Latinos 23% and Whites 14%.
Additionally, by the end of 2005, the total corrections population for the United States, inclusive of probation and parole, was 7 million. This alarming statistic represents about 3% of the U.S. adult population. In other words, 1 in every 32 adults, were in the nation’s prisons and jails, or on probation or parole during 2005. Moreover, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported there were 2,193,798 prisoners being held by state and federal correctional authorities. According to these statistics, 179,220 were held in federal custody and 1,259,905 were in state prisons. Another 747,529 were held or supervised in local jails.
And Justice for All
There is evidence to indicate minorities convicted of drug offenses or with prior criminal histories often victimize Whites, and refuse to plea guilty. Unfortunately, Blacks are unable to make bail or obtain pretrial releases, and are punished more severely than Whites in similar situations.
Latinos constitute the vast majority of those arrested for immigration violations. Arrests for immigration offenses increased 610% over the last ten years – from 1,728 in 1990 to 12,266 in 2000. A growing list of more than 50 crimes – including offenses considered misdemeanors under state law, such as shoplifting or fighting at school – can trigger deportation. Yet, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. citizens are ten times more likely than immigrants to be incarcerated for violent offenses.
Nowhere in the criminal justice system is there such obvious disparity in the treatment of poor minorities during an arrest, detention, conviction and sentencing, than when it comes to drug offenses. Statistics infer drug use to be consistent across all racial groups. Hispanics were arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2001 at a rate nearly three times the proportion to the general population, and they accounted for nearly half (43%) of the individuals convicted of drug offenses in 2000. As incarceration for drug offenses grew – from 16% in 1970 to 55% in 2002 – so did the Hispanic prison population.
However, when the arrest and prosecution rates are examined, Blacks and Latinos are far more likely to be arrested and prosecuted. In addition Blacks receive longer sentences for drug offenses, and constitute 13% of all drug users. And 35% of Blacks arrested, are for drug possession with 55% of those persons convicted, and 74% of this demographic then sent to prison. In reality, these statistics are astounding.
Moreover, in 2004, 250,900 state prison inmates were serving time for drug offenses. Of those, 133,100 (53.05%) were Black, 50,100 (19.97%) were Latinos, and 64,800 (25.83%) were White. Latinos comprise almost half of those arrested for marijuana offenses, and Native Americans comprise almost 2/3 of those prosecuted for criminal offenses in federal courts. The incarceration of poor minorities contributes to the larger problem of prison over population, infectious disease, lower minority socioeconomics, and the breakdown of the family in the United States.
Poor minority communities especially in urban neighborhoods have been the main targets of the so-called war on drugs. More Blacks have also been federally prosecuted for crack offenses than Whites resulting in a disproportionately number of higher sentences for crack versus powder cocaine. This phenomenon is mandated under federal law. Major neighborhood raids, ‘buy and bust operations’ often target lower socioeconomic and minority communities.
To exacerbate matters, problems at the arrest stage include racial profiling and targeting poorer, “high crime” neighborhoods, which impacts people of color. Racial profiling, i.e., “driving while black” a method officers use to detain and search minorities in vehicles or on the street based solely on their appearance has contributed to racially disproportionate drug arrests. Hence, another example of how the system utilizes minorities to enter the system. The evidence in some parts of the country strongly supports the propensity of police stopping Black males while driving for alleged traffic violations. Researchers were able to document traffic stops facilitated by locals and found that over 70% of the drivers stopped were Black or Latino. This injustice was found in a population where blacks were only 12% of the drivers. Blacks were also stopped for longer periods of time as opposed to Whites and represented 80% of the cars that were searched following a stop. These stops could lead to Blacks and Latinos obtaining a criminal record faster than Whites, fast tracking them to prison due to a prior criminal record.
Notably absent from state prison coiffures are large numbers of individuals who occupy the higher level positions in the drug cartels. For example, individuals who bring the drugs via planes, ships or other methods used to supply the huge drug demand in this country. Instead, local jurisdictions target the largest amount of resources on lower level offenders. According to a report by the Human Rights Organization, many of the incarcerated drug offenders are nothing more than small time dealers selling to customers in the streets, such as addicts supporting their habits. These addicts are called “mules” who are trying to earn money. Women get involved with drug-dealing partners and are often coerced to sell drugs to support their children. Research also indicates federal drug defendants are those who tend to be associated with high ranking drug lord officials in drug cartels. They are also likely to be low-level offenders. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, only 11% of federal drug defendants were high-level dealers. More than half of convicted individuals were street level dealers or “mules.” Another federal analysis indicated that over one-third of the drug felons in federal prisons were low-level nonviolent offenders.
The pattern appears clear. Minorities with limited resources are often less likely to access superior legal representation who are able to advocate for release or alternative sentencing options. Most of the people in prison are poor, many illiterate, with an increasing number who suffer from mental illness. Hispanics are disproportionately represented by publicly-appointed legal counsel, who are overworked and underpaid. Of those defendants found guilty in large state courts from 1994 to 1998, 71% represented by public counsel were sentenced to incarceration, as compared to only 54% of defendants who were able to hire private attorneys. “Mandatory minimums” result in sentences that are too harsh for some nonviolent, low-level offenders, and too often courts do not make documents available in Spanish, or provide translators when needed. Those with the resources are more likely to retain private counsel and as a result, are less likely to be convicted than if they were represented by underpaid, unmotivated public defenders. Indeed, individuals need to be accountable for law breaking behaviors. However, is arrest, jail and prison the only appropriate response to criminal behavior? Undeniably, when those affected are least likely to challenge unfavorable criminal justice dispositions. “Is this justice for all?” In addition, access to programs and services within minority communities often are unavailable and therefore, those in the criminal justice system choose to rely on incarceration as access to needed rehabilitation programs. Often these individuals have never been habilitated. How then, can prison programs rehabilitate?
The question of overrepresentation goes beyond the swelling numbers of individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Additionally, one must acknowledge the toll policies designed to fight the possession and distribution of drugs has on communities, families, individuals; and the unintended consequences that follow. Many of those coming back to their families and communities will return as social misfits and with the stigma of a criminal record. Families and children are often left vulnerable to social ills, which include homelessness, poverty, infectious disease, poor health and dependency on public services. Incarcerates have limited access to vocational or educational pre-release programs, and lack of these services perpetuate the criminal involvement revolving door.
National aggregate and individual state data show that racial disparities increase at every stage of the criminal justice process. This process begins with a series of decisions, which navigates a person through a maze of criminal justice procedures. Legal procedures begin with the initial law enforcement contact spiraling upward to the decision about the degree of enforcement. At this level, the officer has the discretion to enforce the law, which in turns triggers a response from stakeholders in the next stage of the process. Detaining a person for suspected criminal behavior at this key entry point can have a profound impact on an individual and his or her family. Inappropriate decisions can have a disproportionate impact on racial or ethnic groups and communities. Once a person is arrested on a complaint and arraigned, decisions are made that can have a great impact on the criminal justice population.
The prosecutor’s office has the discretion and power to divert and ensure unbiased decision-making and treatment of minorities. The prosecutor is charged with bringing defendants in criminal cases to justice in the name of the state. Many prosecutors are in charge of all phases of a criminal proceeding from investigation by the police through trial and beyond, to all levels of appeal. Thus a prosecutor’s discretion is significant because he or she has the ability to select types of offenses to charge, therefore effectively selecting potential sentencing outcomes. Prosecutors have latitude in sentencing decisions about the process used to characterize offenses and offenders. However, sentencing decisions may be influenced by statutory guidelines. For example, the disposition of a case brought before the prosecutor does not always have to resolve in probation or incarceration. There are diversion and alternative dispositions at this stage.
Once charges and evidence are brought by the police to the prosecutor’s office a review of the facts are determined, and critical decisions are made. The police and the prosecutor’s office may decide to void the arrest by declining to bring charges. Immediate consideration of the charges, evidence, and the arrest event by the prosecutor and the police helps to determine the decision to prosecute and determines parameters for plea negotiations. Misdemeanor cases at this stage can also be disposed of, and non-incarcerate sentences can be determined at arraignment.
Another area of discretion is in the area of bail decisions. The goal of the bail decision is to encourage the defendant to return to court and ensure community safety. Other ways of achieving the goal of community safety and court appearances are often not used. Bail set to reflect serious charges can lead to unattainable sums of money to poor minorities, resulting in detention. Therefore, pretrial detention may increase the likelihood of conviction and incarceration and contribute to retaining a considerable number of poor and minority defendants. Pretrial decisions, in lieu of bail, are based upon information regarding a defendant’s background, which include employment, residence or family support. In the absence of a pretrial release program, bail is often set. Factors used to grant bail, or pretrial release, may produce a disparity if the risks that are being evaluated impact negatively and disproportionately on poor minority defendants.
Much too often overrepresented minority populations accept plea bargains. Therefore, it is important for the defense attorney to make contact with the defendant and become familiar with the defendant, and the specifics of the case. Defense attorneys must negotiate an appropriate sentence with the prosecutor to maintain nonmalficence and justice.
Given the notion, that the prosecutor decides to file charges, formal criminal proceeding may begin. This decision is very important and therefore has the potential for reducing, or expanding minority disparity. The notion of ‘race neutral sentencing policies’ work against minority defendants. For example, if the victim is poor and minority, the opportunity to meet with the prosecutor or to appear in court to provide input towards sentencing decisions, is often a missed opportunity. Too often there is a lack of trust, lack of cultural understanding, and substantial fear of what is about to occur.
Additional Problems and Solutions
Nonviolent offenders account for the majority of the growth in America’s prisons. However, today defendants found guilty of nonviolent and non-malevolent crimes are imprisoned and sentenced to harsh and mandatory sentencing laws. Laws which were allegedly aimed at the seriously dangerous and malevolent offender too often are used to judge minor offenses.
Future Research Questions:
1. What is the cost of incarcerating more than one million non-violent offenders?
2. Is it in the best interest of society to imprison non-violent drug offenders?
3. Should limited funds be used to address high-risk and high-need repeat offenders?
4. Should we utilize interventions that match the level of risk and need?
Aggressive intervention strategies employed by the prosecutor’s office can ensure that programs and services designed for low risk offenders meet the desired goal of public safety. A goal must be to reduce the overrepresentation of poor and minority communities by providing diversion alternatives that habilitate, rehabilitate and reduce recidivism rates.
A strong and healthy community is not best served by a justice system that regards the “problem” of any criminal act to be “solved” by a conviction or imprisonment. Persons who are sent to prison have limited access to rehabilitation services, which leads to high recidivism rates. Victims have suffered. Families of offenders have undergone hardships. Communities have sustained damaged.
The prosecutor’s office can be proactive in making a concerted effort in ensuring that minorities are afforded every opportunity to be diverted from criminal justice involvement, when appropriate, and diverted at the same rate afforded to other populations. Information and policies relative to the use of discretion of the prosecutor’s office should be open to public input and even periodic review. Meaningful liaisons with local communities and the prosecutor’s office can enhance the public’s understanding of how prosecutors’ offices operate.
To monitor the exercise and effects of prosecutorial discretion, prosecutors should collect racial data on bail/release requests, charging, and plea bargaining data to make the process more transparent. They can also document decisions of their staff regarding mandatory sentencing – whether they seek the full punishment of the law or reduce or withdraw charges, and if so, to determine the rationale for their decisions. Initiatives can be implemented which ensures that certain populations will not exceed more than a certain percentage to their proportion of the population.
Prosecutors are encouraged to call for, and participate in, research that provides insight into the impact of prosecutorial discretion, particularly in the area of racial disparity. Prosecutors and their staff need to examine the type of discretion available to them with respect to “specialty courts” such as drug courts, domestic violence courts, and weapons courts to determine what is chargeable and what is divertible, how decisions are made, and whether deferred prosecution and nonincarcerative sentencing alternatives are appropriate.
Prosecutorial leadership can confront and seek remedies for laws and policies that have racially disparate consequences i.e, longer sentences for crack cocaine possession than powder cocaine; by effectively educating the state legislature about racial impact from mandatory punishment statutes.
Minorities need information from their respective communities about the nature of the pre-adjudicatory process. This information would be used to assist in identifying and developing resources that can be used by the court as elements in pretrial release, diversion, or alternative sanction programs.
The consequences for communities which have large populations of former prisoners dismantle the foundation of pro-social communities and disturbs the family structure. For every first time nonviolent offender who is given a jail or prison sentence, that person could otherwise be gainfully employed under an alternative sentence. That potential tax payer, or someone who pays child support, is no longer able to provide either. Society instead pays a hefty price to incarcerate instead of seeking tax revenues from this person. An incarcerate removed from the family who was the sole wage earner for the family may contribute to the family’s reliance upon public assistance. A criminal record lessens a person’s ability for future employment opportunities. In addition, we create an even larger group of children more at risk to incarceration themselves.
In summary, if alternative approaches to the country’s criminal justice system are not explored but continues on the path it has been following for the last 20 years, it is clear that corrections spending will continue to rise. Taxpayers will bear an increasing burden and poor and minority communities will be severely impacted socially, financially and politically. We cannot continue to ignore best practices solutions in criminal justice for non-violent, low risk offenders. It is clearly smarter for states and the federal government to explore alternative approaches to its criminal justice system, and that those processes are initiated through progressive prosecutor’s offices throughout the country.
DISCRETIONARY DIVERSION RESPONSES
Identify low risk offenders with objective assessment tools in the early stage of the criminal justice progress.
Risk Assessments can be developed to identify low-level, non-violent, first time offenders with objective criteria for who would be held in detention and who would be released or diverted. Fast track appropriate low risk/need individuals into community and restorative justice programs. These programs would address restitution, court costs, community service, and rehabilitative programs. Low risk offenders are processed with the least restrictions and unnecessary interventions can be avoided.
Home Detention with Electronic Monitoring
Offenders can be sentenced to home detention and given the opportunity to live at home and to continue working while abiding by a set curfew monitored by tracking technology in the form of an ankle bracelet. The offender’s needs, as well as the directives of the sentencing authority, are used to create an individualized program plan. Offenders are closely monitored to ensure compliance with their program plan.
Restorative Justice Programs
Restorative justice programs typically deal with nonviolent crimes and involve diverse approaches, such as: victim-offender conferences, which are led by trained facilitators and allow an individual victim to meet the offender, and discuss both the crime and how the offender will make amends; and victim impact panes, which allow victims and perpetrators of certain similar offenses to meet in groups and understand the effects of the crimes. Participation by offenders may be voluntary or mandatory, and may occur before or after formal sentencing. If offenders comply with a program’s provisions, the charges against them may be reduced or dismissed.
Intermittent Work Release (Weekend Work/Treatment Program
Eligible offenders receive substance abuse counseling and participate in meaningful work projects in lieu of incarceration. Participants report to a treatment center. After counseling, they are transported to a work site. Any offender who fails to perform satisfactorily in this program is returned to jail status.
Deferred prosecution agreements, under which an offender pleads guilty or no contest to the charges that were filed, but is not sentenced. If an offender complies with the terms of the agreement the charges are typically dismissed. However, noncompliance may result in an offender being sentenced for the original charges.
This program is an intermediate sentence between jail and probation. Eligible offenders live at home but report to day activities on a daily basis where they participate in educational, vocational, substance abuse and mental health services as appropriate. Offenders are under probation supervision and electric home monitoring providing accountability seven (7) days a week. Participation in this program lasts up to six (6) months. This program frees up jail space and enables offenders to engage in needed services to reduce their chances of re-offending while also seeking/maintaining employment to support themselves and their families. Through the accountability that it provides, the program can provide public safety and is cost effective.
Sober Living Programs –(Oxford House)
The individuals are housed in a private facility geared mainly for defendants with alcohol abuse problems. Here, there will be individual and group therapy sessions, along with required house chores. House rules and curfews are enforced.
Diversion Drug Program
The defendant is required to complete a series of drug educational programs for a period of 6 months. When the defendant completes all required classes and programs, charges may be dismissed. If all classes are successfully completed the conviction may be avoided altogether.
Pretrial Monitoring/Bail Bond Monitoring
The prosecutor would work with other system stakeholders and community representatives to develop bail/release guidelines that are effective, efficient, and consistent with the purpose of treatment and rehabilitation.
Work Release or Work Furlough
The participant in this program goes to a designated work site, usually on a daily basis, to perform physical labor. At the end of the workday, the participant is allowed to return to a housing dormitory facility other than county jail. Until the work release or work furlough program requirements have been successfully fulfilled, the participant is required to return to the work site the next day, or as instructed.
Community Court program, which allows community members to form a panel of “judges” for cases involving nonviolent, first-time offenders youthful offenders. An offender must admit to the crime and submit to the conditions imposed by the community member judges.
Residential Treatment Programs
Individuals can receive credit for any time spent in residential treatment towards any jail time that would have been imposed as part of a sentence. Treatment would be received at a facility that is respected by both the court system and substance abuse treatment professionals. The benefits of residential treatment are numerous: First, any problems with addiction issues can be addressed in a positive and stabilizing environment. Second, the prosecutor and judge always view the successful completion of a stay in a residential treatment program positively and may conclude that the likelihood of recidivism is greatly reduced when an individual takes steps toward self-help.