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Oklahoma Leads Nation in Incarceration of Women (Oct 12, 2010)

Oklahomans have heard for some time their state incarcerates women at a higher rate than any other in the nation. A report released Tuesday by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy says Oklahoma’s female incarceration rate is the highest in the world.

The annual Kids Count Factbook tracks the condition of Oklahoma’s children from year-to-year. The 2010 report includes a special focus on children who have a parent in prison.

The study says about 27,300 kids living in the state have at least a mother or father behind bars. The report also found that children whose parents are in prison are more than five times more likely than other kids to end up there themselves.

Looking at other areas, the findings show the state continues to struggle with the number of low and very low birthweight babies born in the state. Oklahoma’s older teens are also giving birth at a rate that has grown worse when compared to data from the mid-1990s.

Sandy Ingraham put together the study. She says the numbers used in the report are from 2008, just before the national recession hit Oklahoma. Ingraham cautions the actual condition of the state’s children in 2010 may be worse due to a loss of government services and economic hard times.

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