An Oklahoma program has given women a second chance so they don’t end up like the more than 2,500 women incarcerated in the state’s prisons, The Oklahoman reports. State officials estimate 90 percent of women who’ve entered the female prison diversion programs haven’t re-entered the criminal justice system. Currently, 133 women are enrolled. Sequita Smith, 44, was charged with a felony count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. She is a rare case in the program. Many women have committed drug or money crimes.
“I snapped one day,” said Smith, who had no previous criminal record before lashing out at her boyfriend. She says her life has turned around since entering the program. When she graduates next month, she plans to come back and volunteer. Smith is on probation. She was on a path to having it revoked before a judge sent her to the program. Katie Hayden, program manager, said the women work to identify the behaviors that got them in trouble. “Doing drugs, selling drugs, writing hot checks, getting angry and all of these behaviors meet a need they have,” Hayden said. “We help them identify what it is they really need and find a way to address it positively.”