Prison Reform

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Several members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation are urging President Joe Biden to suspend his executive order shutting down private federal prisons, saying they expect the move to mean a privately operated prison in Hinton would close.

On this edition of ST, we learn about Tulsa's Center for Employment Opportunities (or CEO). CEO is a nationwide nonprofit that helps people who've just come out of prison find jobs and/or acquire skills and training. The Tulsa CEO branch opened in 2011; our guest is Adrienne Yandell, who directs the Tulsa outlet. Per the CEO Tulsa website: "CEO guarantees every participant who completes a one-week job-readiness orientation up to four days a week of transitional work on a crew and daily pay -- a critical asset during an important time.

The highly acclaimed novelist Rachel Kushner is our guest; she joins us to discuss her latest novel, "The Mars Room," which is now out in paperback. As was noted of this book (which was Time Magazine's #1 Fiction Title of the Year as well as a New York Times Notable Book of 2018) in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Two-time National Book Award finalist Kushner delivers a heartbreaking and unforgettable novel set in a California women's prison.

(Note: This installment of ST Medical Monday originally aired last summer.) It's taken a while for this particular truth to sink in, but America finally seems to be waking up to it: People with mental illness don't need to be locked up -- they need to be treated. On this edition of our show, we speak with journalist Alisa Roth, whose book, "Insane," is a well-regarded and alarming exposé of the mental health crisis now facing our courts, jails, and prisons. As was noted  of this book by The New York Times Book Review: "Chilling....

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing court fees, court fines, collection costs, and other court-related expenses, which, all told, make up somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the budget for the State of Oklahoma's court system. Therefore, and quite regrettably, our state's jails are by now brimming with people whose only "crime" is being unable to pay such costs.

In the immediate wake of Governor Stitt's State of the State Address, and as the 2019 legislative session gets underway in OKC, we welcome back to StudioTulsa our longtime colleague David Blatt, who's been the Executive Director of the non-partisan, non-profit OK Policy think tank since 2010. Blatt chats with us in detail about what lawmakers at the State Capitol might attempt or accomplish regarding education, criminal justice, health, economic opportunity, taxes, and the state's budget.

Our guest is Shane Bauer, a senior reporter for Mother Jones. He joins us to discuss a sobering new book that grew out of his outstanding reporting for that magazine.

(Note: This show originally aired back in February.) "Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld" is a well-researched book exploring little-known aspects of American crime, Native American identity, and smalltown politics in the 20th century. It's also an engrossing biography of a real and remarkable person: Bobby BlueJacket, born in 1930, who grew up in Tulsa amid teenage rumbles, mean streets, dangerous pool halls, and Midwest safecracker crews -- and who actually went from being a career thief to a prison journalist to a Eastern Shawnee Indian activist.

It's taken a while for this particular truth to sink in, but America finally seems to be waking up to it: People with mental illness don't need to be locked up -- they need to be treated. On this edition of our show, we speak with journalist Alisa Roth, whose new book, "Insane," is a well-regarded and quite alarming exposé of the mental health crisis now facing our courts, jails, and prisons. As was noted  of this book by The New York Times Book Review: "Chilling.... Roth writes movingly of the human toll of incarceration....

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with Dr. Ruth Potee, who is both a Family Physician and an Addiction Medicine Physician based in Greenfield, Mass. She's also the Medical Director for the Franklin County House of Corrections, the Franklin Recovery and Treatment Center, and the Pioneer Valley Regional School District. As such, Dr.

Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is Eric Schlosser, the well-regarded American journalist and filmmaker whose bestselling books include "Fast Food Nation" (2001), "Reefer Madness" (2003), "Chew on This" (2006), and "Command and Control" (2013). This last-named title reveals the details of America's ongoing efforts to prevent nuclear weapons from being stolen, sabotaged, or detonated by accident.

Women are the fastest-growing prison population group in the United States today -- and the State of Oklahoma, tragically, puts women in prison at twice the national rate. On this edition of ST, we check in with the non-profit organization known as Still She Rises, a public defender office based here in our community that's dedicated to representing North Tulsa mothers within the criminal justice system. Still She Rises, which began operations in Tulsa about a year ago, grew out of a similar group in NYC known as The Bronx Defenders.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we get to know Robin Steinberg, a New York City-based public defender who founded the nonprofit Bronx Defenders in the late 1990s. This organization is still known for its model of "holistic defense," in which clients are advocated for by an interdisciplinary team of professionals (legal and otherwise) who address the underlying causes as well as the collateral consequences of our criminal-justice system. As Steinberg tells us, in January of this year, the Bronx Defenders opened a smaller-scale satellite office in North Tulsa called Still She Rises.

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The State of Oklahoma continues to top nationwide stats regarding the number of people it incarcerates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, our state ranks second in the nation in its rate of incarceration at 700 per every 100,000 people; the national average is 471. Oklahoma also imprisons women at the highest rate in the country -- at a rate that's more than twice the national average. Come early November, voters statewide will consider two initiatives aimed at reversing these shameful and embarrassing trends.