The fact that Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state may be a disturbing fact to some, but why? If justice is truly blind, then shouldn’t criminals be punished regardless of their sex?
The statistics show that Oklahoma’s law enforcement officials have been doing their job: catching criminals without letting their bias affect them.
Women only accounted for 14.9 percent of the total Oklahoma prison population in 2001. While this still shows that Oklahoma is incarcerating more women than Texas and Louisiana, it doesn’t mean that women are unfairly being over-prosecuted.
The true victims of these statistics are the children of these women who are being incarcerated. Often when a woman with children is incarcerated, her children must live with other family members or become wards of the state.
Perhaps if Oklahoma were to only incarcerate those women who committed violent crimes, they could then set up programs for nonviolent female criminals that would allow them to repay their debt to society without having to give up custody of their children. At least one victim was created when the crime was committed, so there is no reason to create any other victims by incarcerating women who made a mistake.
While preventing crime is priority No. 1, Oklahoma’s second priority should be helping those criminals who have the ability to be rehabilitated, something rarely found behind bars.
University Wire -Daily O’Collegian, Oklahoma State U.