Monday, July 16, 2012

Oklahoma County and Youth

Drug and alcohol problems involve youths and their families.  In fact, much drug abuse is from prescription medicine found in the homes of parents or grandparents.  Often what happens within a family can impact generations unless intervention occurs.

At a Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City meeting, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater talked about “good” happenings in the correctional realm in Oklahoma County.  Many nonviolent offenders, once you get to know them, may be decent people who, unable to control their addictions, made and still make poor choices.  Sending all drug and alcohol offenders to prison is not always the best choice. 
Among better choices in Oklahoma County are: 
  • Drug Court (for adults), founded by former District Attorney Robert H. “Bob” Macy
  • ReMerge Program (new for women offenders)
  • Mental Health Program (within the Oklahoma County Jail, Sheriff John Whetzel)
  • Vet Court or Veteran Diversion, founded by David Prater

ReMerge, only about a year old, is currently under the auspices of United Way but is forming its own 501(c)(3) and soon creating its own website.  Excerpts about ReMerge:
ReMerge is a female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration into productive community citizens.
The majority of these women are nonviolent, drug addicted, unemployed, victims of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse and victims of adult domestic violence who are raising their children alone.  For approximately one-third of these women, their mother and/or father were incarcerated.
ReMerge is a diversion program providing an alternative to incarceration.  Priority selection is given to women who are pregnant, women with a child or children under five years of age, and women with multiple minor children.
Program phases include assessment and stabilization, treatment and education, demonstration of skills and recovery, preparation for graduation and maintenance of acquired skills. 

The Oklahoma County Veteran’s Program (OCVP) is a diversion program designed to divert veterans involved with the criminal justice system from prison, to reduce veteran’s involvement in future crimes, and place them into appropriate rehabilitative alternatives. The program is for veterans who are currently facing prosecution for one or more criminal cases. The program offers offenders a treatment option that is supervised by the OCVP team.

[Note:  Sheri Keenan, Ph.D., Cameron University, has stated that courts handle youth offenders differently from county to county and state to state.] 

Oklahoma County Criminal Process [What happens after being arrested]

Truancy [What is it and what happens?]

Survival Skills for Young Women teach teenage girls to be strong, smart and independent young women. 
This program was developed in response to an ever increasing proportion of females being referred to the juvenile justice system. It is evident that sending these girls to programs designed for a predominantly male audience is rarely beneficial to them. The Survival Skills program was designed to provide a positive approach to preparing young women for a productive life.  [Parents may request daughters be referred, although most girls are court-involved.]

SEA Program “Service-Education-Accountability” (once adjudicated)
The SEA Program provides supervised work for children involved through the juvenile court system to complete community service to pay restitution to their victims.  There are 8-10 juveniles participating on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  Litter clean-up, gardening, graffiti removal, planting, packaging food, organizing clothes, leaf raking and painting are a few examples of the types of work the youth are involved in.  We contract with non profit organizations.

On another note...

Oklahoma Sheriff’s Department Office – Law Enforcement Explorers
Post #2199 meets at Francis Tuttle two evenings a month.

C.O.P. Program
The Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau has developed a Community Outreach Prevention Program to assist our community and schools on the topics of Bullies and Weapons. We see a great need in our community and schools to bring awareness to the public concerning the effects of Bullies and Weapons. [The statistics on bullying and fear are surprising.]

CRASH Courts Raising Awareness of Students High School
A three-part program taking place in a high school gymnasium or auditorium…

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