This proposed three-part digital and radio series looks at an Oklahoma law commonly known as “Failure to Protect” by focusing on the personal stories of two women and the families affected by their incarceration. This law, which has been on the books for more than a decade, has had the unintended consequence of unequally punishing women for acts of child abuse their intimate partners or husbands have committed. The Oklahoma legislature recently passed several laws aimed at reforming the criminal justice system and will consider a bill that changes the language in the Failure to Protect law, after the admission by several lawmakers that it may be doing more harm than good.
The law known as “enabling child abuse” has been criticized for its unfair sentencing, particularly regarding women. Advocates for criminal justice reform say men walk away with lesser sentences.
Elizabeth Crafton got a 20-year sentence for failing to protect her young daughter from abuse. Her boyfriend, who was convicted of abuse in the case, received an 11-year sentence.