What do Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Vince Gill have in common?
Besides being country music superstars, they were each born in the
state of Oklahoma, along with famous actor Brad Pitt.
And if that weren't enough to make the state appealing, Oklahoma boasts
over ten million acres of forest, with a large portion being protected
land. This means that that the protected land is legally sheltered from
development. The miles and miles of field and forest are what give
Oklahoma its personality. The state is romanticized in the classic
musical by the same name, but life is not all song and dance for many
residents of this state, especially females who commit crimes.
Female Incarceration Rates and
Habitual Offender Law
If you are a woman in Oklahoma, you are at a higher risk of
incarceration than any other place in the United States. Oklahoma has
had the highest U.S. rate of female imprisonment for at least a decade.
The state currently locks up about 2600 female inmates, which
constitute about 12.4% of those incarcerated in the state.
One explanation for the high number women incarcerated in Oklahoma is
the "Habitual Offender Law." This law allows prosecutors to seek
enhanced sentences for felony defendants who have been convicted of two
or more felonies in the previous 10 years. Defendants convicted of a
third felony offense can be sentenced for 20 years to life in prison.
Other states have adopted habitual offender laws, but the aspect that
makes Oklahoma unique is that the offenses include any felony offenses,
even non-violent crimes. Therefore, a defendant in Oklahoma can receive
a life sentence in prison for receiving three or more drug related
The Habitual Offender Law affects a large portion of women who are
incarcerated in Oklahoma who are locked up for non-violent offenses.
Women have a universal tendency to commit less violent crimes then men,
and therefore are affected largely by this portion of the Oklahoma
statute. A number of these women are serving life sentences due to the
Habitual Offender Law. There is currently a lot of controversy and
discussion going on about this issue.
Back in the days of early settlement, most Oklahomans owned guns as a
means of survival. The state has evolved and adapted over the years,
and now has a full set of gun laws enacted, putting restrictions on who
can legally own and carry a gun. There are also many caveats in the
laws regarding carry and conceal issues and circumstances surrounding
the sell of firearms.
Oklahoma DUI laws are put in place to punish those who drive while
under the influence of impairing drugs and alcohol, therefore putting
others at risk. Those with a history of DUI may have their license
suspended until they are able to demonstrate to the courts that they
have changed their habits and are committed to being safe on the roads.
Don't drive under the influence and you will avoid having to deal with
the consequences of breaking these laws.