Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for incarceration of men, second for women and first for Black people. Previously incarcerated Oklahomans and their children face barriers to opportunity including access to employment, upward mobility and financial stability.
Incarceration and economic hardship not only affect the people behind bars and those close to them, but they also have a statewide ripple effect in limiting our communities’ potential, widening racial and economic disparities, and perpetuating intergenerational cycles of poverty.
Building a more equitable and prosperous Oklahoma requires transformative changes in the way we collectively design and implement policies, make decisions, and think and speak about crime and safety.
ProsperOK’s mission is to accelerate economic mobility, reduce incarceration, and bolster community safety by uplifting people and removing barriers in the criminal legal system. ProsperOK invests in solutions that span the criminal legal system. We focus on two interrelated goals:
Increase economic opportunity through innovations in policy and practice with an emphasis on:
Transform systems by building power among those most impacted and proximate to the work with an emphasis on:
ProsperOK partners are beginning to form teams and initiatives to advance the work. Initial initiatives are highlighted below.
From debilitating fines and fees and their collateral consequences, to diminished employment and earning potential, formerly incarcerated individuals and families struggle to stay afloat financially. ProsperOK in collaboration with bipartisan partner organizations across Oklahoma prioritize legislative efforts that reduce the economic burden of the criminal legal system, such as automatically expunging eligible criminal records and reducing catastrophic fines and fees.
System-impacted people and their families are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. ProsperOK in collaboration with Tulsa-based grassroots and advocacy organizations is coalescing community resources and the people most impacted by the criminal legal system to organize, advocate and change inequitable policies and practices in Oklahoma’s criminal legal system.
Individuals entangled in the criminal legal system face significant disparities in accessing the education and training needed for middle-skill, middle-income, in-demand occupations. ProsperOK supports innovative programs that work to bridge the gap between placing a system-impacted individual on a path to short-term economic stability and long-term economic success.
In the summer of 2021, ProsperOK in collaboration with partner organizations launched the Education and Training Pathways Collaborative (ETPC). The ETPC is composed of Tulsa-area organizations who meet on a monthly basis to support the creation and delivery of high-quality education and training services that lead to living-wage work for individuals impacted by the criminal legal system.
We encourage you to sign up for ProsperOK updates and emails to stay informed as new opportunities arise.
ProsperOK’s Community Investment Committee (CIC) is launching its first round of community-directed grantmaking! The CIC is looking to fund grassroots organizations using advocacy, organizing and civic engagement to promote equity, economic opportunity and racial justice for individuals living and working in areas of Tulsa County most harmed by the criminal legal system. To learn more and apply, please follow the links below.
ProsperOK is a growing collaborative of community members, organizers and advocates, practitioners, policy makers, businesses and funders. As the work evolves, we will begin to highlight partner organizations and initiatives.
Center for Employment Opportunities
Family and Children’s Services – Women In Recovery and Women’s Justice Program
Fitting Back In
George Kaiser Family Foundation
Justice and Mobility Fund
Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Oklahoma Policy Institute
Prison Fellowship Ministries
Project Commutation at the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office
Public Welfare Foundation
Restorative Justice Institute of Oklahoma
Terence Crutcher Foundation
Tulsa Community WorkAdvance
Join us as we build a safer and more prosperous Oklahoma. As the work evolves, there will be opportunities to learn and engage. Sign up to stay informed.