ReMerge

ReMerge is a female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration into productive community citizens.

To contact ReMerge, make a donation or referral, contact Terri Woodland at 405.523.3508.

Overview

Oklahoma leads the nation in the number of women incarcerated per capita. In Oklahoma County, the number of women sent to state prison each year is approximately 300, representing an estimated 536 children who are displaced due to their mother’s incarceration.

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 works closely with the District Attorney and Chief Public Defender’s offices of Oklahoma County, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections,  and 25 member agencies of the Oklahoma County Collaborative.

The program began in May 2011 and has a goal of serving 50 women per year by June, 2013.

Participant Selection

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 5 years of age
  • Women with multiple minor children

These women are facing a nonviolent felony conviction that could otherwise result in imprisonment. Further, these women have care-taking responsibilities for their minor children or will be eligible for reunification.

Candidates will be recommended through one or more of the following avenues:

  • Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office
  • Oklahoma County Public Defender’s office
  • Oklahoma County judges
  • Private Attorneys

Screening and assessments are performed by the Department of Corrections and NorthCare.  Once identified as a potential client, further assessment is completed to evaluate the candidate’s risk, needs and willingness to participate in the program.

Program Description

Clients may enter the program at any time. The program has been divided into four phases. Each phase is anticipated to last from 30 to 90 days depending upon the needs and progress of the individual client.

  • Phase One focuses on assessment and stabilization
  • Phase Two focuses on treatment and education
  • Phase Three focuses on demonstration of skills and recovery
  • Phase Four focuses on preparation for graduation and maintenance of acquired skills

A treatment plan is developed and tailored to meet the needs of each participant and includes utilizing some or all of the following tools:

  • Health care
  • Behavioral health care
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Education training and job placement
  • Food, clothing, shelter and transportation
  • Domestic violence intervention and counseling
  • Parenting and family services
  • Health and wellness
  • Legal services
  • Personal finance management services

Funding

Program funders include the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Inasmuch Foundation, SandRidge Energy, Chesapeake Energy, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Mr. Tom Ward, NorthCare and United Way of Central Oklahoma.
 
ReMerge hopes to secure additional public and private funding to sustain the program.