By GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer

Many Oklahomans believe the state locks up too many women and think it is because of a lack of adequate alternative programs, a recent Oklahoma Poll found.

With Oklahoma No. 1 in the female incarceration rate, most residents say the state’s current stance on crime and punishment is not making them safer.

Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale said the results are encouraging because residents are seeing how tougher sentences aren’t reducing crime.

“The hope for me as a judge and former prosecutor is that there is some public recognition about changing the high crime statistics through programs rather than tougher sentences,” Nightingale said. “Tougher sentences have not led to a reduction in crime. Tougher sentences have led to more warehousing of prisoners. When the public recognizes the need for change, the legislators are hopefully soon to follow.”

Tulsa World’s continuing coverage on women in prisons

Historically, public policy and research focused only on the experience of incarcerated men, said Juanita Ortiz, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois-Springfield, who also completed her doctorate degree at the University of Oklahoma studying female recidivism rates.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.

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