“Everyone has a past. We all want a future,” said Maria Harris, a participant in Cleveland County’s Second Chance Access Pilot program (S-CAP). OU Legal Clinic student Katie Wilder interviewed Harris and described her as an “outgoing, positive, cheerful” person who is “serious about helping the world embrace the positive.”
S-CAP was started by the Cleveland County Sherriff’s office to combat the rising number of female incarcerations. It is a navigational service for non-violent women offenders. S-CAP is the only program of its kind in Oklahoma. The state leads the nation in female incarceration rates. The goal of the program is to help women move forward by assisting them in obtaining basic needs, transportation, housing, job skills, and quality employment. The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth recently recommended that Cleveland County’s S-CAP program be used as a model for all counties across the state of Oklahoma.
“You’ve got to live in the future,” Harris said. “Bad stuff happens; it’s how you bounce back from it.”
The themes of empowerment and “bouncing back” inspired the OU Law Legal Clinic to partner with the OU Graduate Social Work Association and Friends of S-CAP to organize a community service event.
On Friday, April 5, at 11:30 a.m. at Common Ground, 324 W. Main St., Harris and women like her will participate in the first “S-CAP Fashion Show: Steppin’ Up, Moving Forward.”
Participants from the S-CAP program will step on stage wearing fashions from local retailers while lunch is served. Celebrity fitness expert and former Miss Black America, Basheerah Ahmad, will emcee the fashion show.
The goal of this event is to introduce S-CAP participants to Norman’s community leaders, to provide a forum for these two groups to interact in a positive, light-hearted manner, and to highlight the S-CAP program and the inspiring work it has provided for the community. These women have dreams and goals for the future. Harris has hopes of making a career doing what she loves: helping others. Another program member, Malisa Stevens, is eager to continue her real estate career. The Norman community would benefit to embrace these determined women.
Not only can these women step out with confidence at the fashion show, but also Oklahoma can step up and move forward by incorporating the S-CAP model to reduce female incarceration recidivism.
To RSVP and for more information, contact the OU Legal Clinic at (405) 325-3702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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