In the past five years, the number of American Indians incarcerated in Oklahoma has increased by 27%. According to the Vera Institute, a non-profit in New York City, “73,100 of our family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors were in Oklahoma’s correctional system when tallied on December 31st, 2016. They were either in a county jail, in state prison, or on probation or parole.” Sad to say, this number is increasing… Our unique program uses peer-to-peer trainers, or navigators, to educate offenders, families, and officials on the criminal justice system and family resources. Navigators are ex-offenders who help offenders understand their rights, roles, and responsibilities in being active participants in their own cases. Navigators work side by side with our tribal, state, county, and federal officials in identifying gaps in the criminal justice reform. The overall goal of this program is to lower the recidivism (reoffending) rate among American Indians, while creating success stories within our tribal communities. The SPTHB has formed the American Indian Criminal Justice Navigation Council, which includes not only navigators, but officials from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, tribal reintegration programs, tribal leaders, tribal council members, the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office administrators, as well as various other tribal, state, federal, and county partners who are all dedicated in finding gaps in the criminal justice reform for the state of Oklahoma.
Learning Objectives:
  • Understand the current state of incarceration among American Indians
  • Understand the plan of action and the initiative the AICJNC has created
  • What others can do to help the AICJNC