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Oklahoma: A Case Study on the Female Incarceration Epidemic | Eric Cullen | TEDxUTulsa

there is no justice just us I could

still hear the voice of my mentor he

said if you want justice you must not

rely on the criminal justice system

because it's just a system it's up to us

to make a difference Oklahoma has been

number one in incarcerated women for 28

years straight so how do we get here

from 1925 until 1971 the u.s.

incarcerated approximately 200,000

people from 1971 to 2018 those numbers

skyrocketed to approximately 1.8 million

people it all started with the war on

drugs during the Nixon administration in

1971 Oklahoma legislators followed suit

drug laws and punishments increased and

then became severe the issue then turned

to what do we do

well it's bipartisan now the winds have

completely shifted and there are serious

efforts to combat the mass incarceration

epidemic in Oklahoma incarcerated

mothers with children there's four

thousand six hundred twenty four minor

children living with incarcerated

mothers amber Kirk is a 36 year old

mother of three minor children amber was

drug addicted and in an abusive

relationship which is very common for

women in Oklahoma the battle drugs amber

because of this racked up several felony

convictions in one year and wound up in

drug court although drug court is good

it is not always what is needed and

unfortunately amber racked up another

felony drug conviction this ended up

with it's very serious sentence of life

in prison life in prison

Robin Allen Robin is a grandmother and a

mother who is a longtime drug addict

Robin had a drug addiction problem and

she was a drug dealer the reason she

dealt drugs was to supply her addiction

and to assist her family in a time of

need her daughter her husband her

grandkids had all fell on hard times

they had to move in Robin none of them

had jobs Robin went to drug dealing

which again is another situation that

goes hand-in-hand drug dealing and drug

addiction in November of last year I

connected with music industry legend

Jason Flom Jason is best known for

producing music for the likes of Katy

Perry transplants Siberian Orchestra and

Kid Rock but what you may not know is

that jason has been passionately

fighting for criminal justice reform for

30 years when we got on the phone

Jason said what can we do to fix the

female incarceration epidemic in

Oklahoma how can we help these women I

told him that I had found in a project

called another chance justice project

another chance is an investigative

nonprofit that assists female nonviolent

offenders with her upcoming parole and

commutation hearings by getting their

family's support

by writing our own letters to the board

the partner all board in more

importantly finding resources for these

women such as transitional homes upon

their release jason was very impressed

he was all in and pledged his support

immediately and then in his most New

York of New York accents this born in

new this born and raised New Yorker said

I have never wanted to come to Oklahoma

ever but I will if you show me serious

results in the next year since July

another chance has assisted 63 women and

gaining their freedom in 2017 Oklahoma

granted seventeen commutations in 2018

one hundred five two of these results

we've already discussed

amber kirk her commutation was granted

in December and she was home by

Christmas with her family as you see

here in this picture behind me she has

two jobs and while uniting with her

family continues to work on her sobriety

Robin Allen she was granted her

commutation February 13th and is

awaiting governor CID signature for her

release that's Robin behind me with her

daughter and her mother Robin also plans

on getting a job reuniting with her

family and continuing to work on her

sobriety before another chance was

formed there were almost no resources

for these two women and women like them

I named this project another chance

justice project because we believe in

another chance not just a second chance

thank you