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Oklahoma's high female lockup rate targeted in bill

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 12, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A plan to target Oklahoma's highest-in-the-nation female incarceration rate with a prison diversion pilot program in Tulsa has unanimously passed the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate voted Wednesday for the bill by Republican state Sen. Kim David of Porter that targets women convicted of drug or other nonviolent crimes. David said female offenders first must enter a plea of guilty, which a judge can withhold and waive if the woman completes the 12-to-18-month program.

David said the participants must stay sober and keep a job to remain in the program, which also reunites the women with their children.

David said she was particularly touched by the testimony that some of the women in the program delivered during a Senate committee hearing.

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