Women are the fastest-growing prison population in the U.S. with Oklahoma leading this trend at twice the national rate. Still She Rises goes to the ground zero of this crisis, bringing the model of holistic defense pioneered by The Bronx Defenders to the women of North Tulsa.
Traditional models of defense fail to address the issues that often underlie women's incarceration or the devastating consequences that stem from it, including the loss of children.
Failure to address these factors at the front-end of the criminal justice process reinforces the cyclical nature of incarceration among women and further destabilizes their families.
A New Approach
By tailoring our legal strategies to the unique challenges faced by mothers in the criminal justice system and broadening the scope of our work beyond the criminal case, Still She Rises aims to break the cycle of poverty and instability that so often correlates with the incarceration of a mother.
At Still She Rises, every client we represent has access to an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, social workers, legal advocates, and investigators committed to fighting by her side to keep her family together and rebuild her life.
Our public defenders tailor their representation to the needs and stated wishes of each client, engaging with them deeply to understand their experiences and prevent long-term damage to their families. Working closely with attorneys, our investigators find evidence and witnesses that can help us fight for our clients’ best interests.
Our advocates mitigate the collateral consequences of criminal injustice involvement by representing clients and their families in spaces where the traditional right to counsel does not exist but the impact of a criminal case is most deeply felt, including family and housing court.
Our social workers and legal advocates support clients as they address the issues that drove them into the criminal justice system in the first place, connecting them to public benefits and vital services like substance abuse treatment, counseling, and child care.
Our team works closely with members of the North Tulsa community to foster deep and ongoing relationships and to combat entrenched injustices facing this community. We determine our program strategies and policy priorities based on the needs of our clients and their community and are dedicated to continuously adapting to meet those needs.
Why North Tulsa?
Oklahoma incarcerates a higher percentage of its women than by any other state - 142 out of every 100,000 female Oklahomans are incarcerated. Black women and women of color make up a disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated population.
A particularly egregious history of racial violence makes North Tulsa the most under-resourced and marginalized section of Tulsa, exacerbating the social inequities that drive low-income women and women of color into the criminal justice system.
In this short video, Julius Pegues, Chairman of the John Hope Reconciliation Center, shares a few words about the history of North Tulsa.