Struggling program hoping for new funds
NORMAN, Okla. — A Cleveland County program that helps women transition from jail back into society could be on the chopping block.
For nearly two years, federal grant money helped pay for the Second Chance Act Project known as S-CAP.
The $234,000 grant ended July 1, 2012.
Organizers are now struggling to find funding so they can keep the program.
S-CAP is designed to keep women from returning to jail.
Organizers put together an individual plan for each woman.
The participants are provided access to drug rehab and legal services.
The program also helps women find housing and jobs.
“It has helped me and I didn’t think there was any help for me,” said Tiffany Billie, a recovering drug addict.
Billie was arrested two years ago after leading police on a high-speed chase.
The video of the chase and her arrest aired on NewsChannel 4.
Two years later, Billie says she’s sober and is no longer the person people saw on television.
“That video hurt my family and it hurt me,” said Billie. ” I just wanted to have a chance to show everybody that you can change and I’m sorry for hurting my family.”
In two years, nearly 300 women have completed the program.
Typically, organizers say 60-70% of women arrested in Cleveland County end up back in jail. The rate for those who complete the program is between 25-30%.
“We really have a close relationship with our participants and when they succeed we are their biggest cheerleader,” said Beth Jones with S-CAP.
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office is allowing the program to use an office at the headquarters in downtown Norman.
The program is receiving help from local non-profits.
The United Way of Norman is taking donations for the program.