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Female incarceration takes toll on children, AGs hear at Oklahoma meeting

The nearly 2,500 females incarcerated in Oklahoma have 4,500 children who are likely to follow in mom's footsteps, a panel member told a conference of state attorneys general in Oklahoma City.
BY TIM WILLERT twillert@opubco.com Published: April 26, 2013
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The program, for high-risk women facing lengthy terms of incarceration, places a strong emphasis on the family relationship, Santee said. Participants receive parenting education, case management and necessary services for their children.

The program offers strict supervision and high degrees of accountability, along with strong clinical and treatment services, Santee said.

Participants receive an average of 300 hours of clinical treatment and 280 hours of group education over a 12- to 18-month period.

“We're strengthening the mother and her children,” she said.

Of the program's 245 participants since 2009, 94 have graduated, a 66 percent rate, said Santee, who said she has seen significant drops in substance abuse and improved mental health.

“Each of these program components alone will not improve recidivism if the participant does not change her thinking and her behavior,” Santee said “Changing behavior is not an easy task. It does not happen overnight.

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