Oklahoma Incarceration Rates 4th in the Nation

While it is good to be ranked highly nationwide in some categories, incarceration rates should not be something that Oklahoma should strive for.

The latest numbers show that Oklahoma incarceration rates rank fourth overall in the United States at 648 prisoners for every 100,000 citizens in 2012. Those numbers are up from 632 in 2011.

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Oklahoma's total prison population rose from 25,321 in 2011 to 26,194 last year. An increase of 3.4%. Nationwide, the prison population decreased slightly.

Oklahoma incarceration rates for women, at 127 per 100,000 population, remains the highest in the United States. This figure is up from 122 in 2011.

Among the females incarcerated in the Oklahoma prison system, it is estimated that 85% of them are mothers. This leaves the state to pick up the tab for the care of many of those children and puts a burden on the foster-care system.

Oklahoma's rising prison population began in the 1980s with the nationwide war on drugs. The continued rise is linked to many "get tough on crime" type of laws including the Truth in Sentencing Act passed under Governor Frank Keating.

A variety of polls in recent months have rated Oklahoma as one of the most free states in the U.S. How can a state be free when it is incarcerating so many of it's citizens?

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Posted in Law Post Date 03/08/2015


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