Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Flourishing in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma has the highest per-capita rate of female inmates in the United States, with 85 percent of those women being mothers.

The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Initiative was established in 1992 in partnership with the National Institute of Justice. The goals are to lessen the impact of parental separation due to incarceration, to foster the personal and social development of girls and their mothers, and to provide girls with the opportunity to participate with their parents in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

Ruth Samuels, the mentor recruiter for the Girls Scouts Beyond Bars program in Oklahoma, spoke Tuesday at a Tulsa Press Club Page One Luncheon about the program and to encourage community members to become program mentors.

Through the program, kids visit their mothers or grandmothers in prison once a month. The girls have regular Girl Scout meetings each Thursday. Boys are also served through the program by being given a chance to visit their mothers.

Last year, Tulsa World reported that The Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma received another large grant to provide services to children with incarcerated parents, bringing the amount to $1 million awarded the group for Girl Scouts Beyond Bars in 2010.