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ReMerge is a comprehensive female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration into productive citizens. Oklahoma is currently ranked number one for female incarceration per capita in the United States - a country that leads the developed world in incarcerating it’s own citizens.
Nearly 80% of Oklahoma’s incarcerated women are non-violent offenders, their presence in Oklahoma Correctional Facilities largely attributable to drug abuse, the distribution of controlled substances, prostitution and property crimes.
Children with an incarcerated mother are also affected, and are five times as likely to end up in prison themselves. Their family life becomes unstable, their grades suffer, and they experience higher rates of depression as they struggle with the truth of their parents’ criminalization.
When mothers who act as primary caregivers serve time in prison, the loss of emotional and tangible support they provide—in the form of regular caretaking, income, housing, and more—can have a traumatic and disruptive impact on their families and communities. In recent years, this impact has garnered the attention of policymakers locally and nationwide, who have proposed—and piloted—diversion programs as a necessary alternative to incarceration for convicted mothers.
After incarceration, returning to the community can present more challenges for these mothers, whose criminal records may prevent them from securing stable housing, employment, education, healthcare, and more.
Serving Oklahoma County, ReMerge provides a holistic alternative to incarceration. ReMerge’s opportunities for treatment and rehabilitation are provided to participants to help reduce Oklahoma’s female incarceration rates and generational poverty, as well as providing helping participants secure stable housing, employment, education, healthcare, and more.