1st Step [501 (c) (3)]

1st Step [1023]

1st Step [990] – Current

1st Step welcomes Buck West as our newest case manager. He will work with Tanya Moore to supervise and assist our young man as they progress through the 1st Step program. Buck has been with 1st Step for over a year as a house manager and mentor.



Tulsa World Article – ‘They taught me how to live’: Group helps young men caught in ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline

(View Article)



Welcome Chris Schroeder

“The 1st Step Board welcomes its newest member, Chris Schroeder, Wealth Management Officer at Arvest Bank. Chris is a former Marine and has a strong commitment to mentoring and changing the lives of at risk young men.”





1st Step Annual Report 2019

(download report)



“Two 1st Step board members, Colleen McCarty and Stephanie Horten, are working on commutation of lengthy sentences for drug related prison inmates in Oklahoma. Criminal justice reform is closely allied with the mission of 1st Step.”

49 Oklahoma inmates imprisoned for drug crimes asking for commutations

(Via Tulsa World)

KJRH Tulsa Interview- Tulsa’s male diversion program opens first rehabilitation center.


Watch Interview here





Dr. Daniel Duffy Podcast

Doctor Duffy (1st Step Board Member and Science Committee Member) explains motivational interviewing.  1st Step Male Diversion Program uses scientific evidence-based techniques and therapy to help you men escape the school to prison cycle.  In this podcast, Dr. Duffy explains the very important tool of motivational interviewing in the unique 1st Step Male Diversion Program.


Problem-solving issues for a male diversion program were reviewed during the recent general meeting of the committee.  David Phillips, male diversion committee chair, said they are looking at ways to keep nonviolent offenders out of prison, and there is a lot of interest in this type of program across the nation.  He received responses from Orlando, Florida, from a December 2015 article in Tulsa Business & Legal News expressing interest in the committee’s work in Tulsa.

Even as the committee reviewed the work that had been accomplished, they also looked at obstacles and possibilities for success. Everything must be in sync with court requirements and related organizations that would support the program.  High on the list was screening eligible candidates. Richard Crouch, assistant public defender, said the goal was to establish an individualized plan for each offender and a committee was working on developing phases for the treatment.  Concerns also were expressed about whether a person with addictions would be able to make the transition from jail to the diversion program without some type of prior assistance.  Public defender Rob Nigh suggested that perhaps a 28-day placement in a rehabilitation program would be the initial first step.  Housing, a critical program component, would be necessary to keep the participant away from previous surroundings that led to their current situation. No housing decisions have been made, but Les Desjardins, with Oxford House, saida employment was key factor for anyone staying in their facility.  Residents are required to pay rent to cover their costs of staying at Oxford House, he said. It is part of their taking responsibility in any treatment program they are in.

Financing the overall program also was a concern and a nonprofit status is being considered. Sherri Carrier, Tulsa County Court Services, suggested that it might be necessary to place a GPS monitor on male diversion participants placed at an Oxford House or other acceptable housing.  John Brasher, assistant district attorney, suggested that additional security would be necessary with the placement of a male diversion participant at that facility. Carrier noted that tracking participants could put a strain on available department resources.She also inquired about available statistics from the David L. Moss Correctional Facility that might define the pool of participants. Phillips said the subcommittee would work to get those numbers. Dodson with the Tulsa Community Foundation said the organization could assist with seeking and administering any funding that is received. Nigh said the male diversion program seeks to satisfy the need of young, nonviolent offenders who were not candidates for specialty courts with the intent of breaking their cycle of crime.

By Ralph Schaefer

“Where are we now in making the Male Diversion Program operational?” The answer was setting a Sept. 1 date to admit the first person. David Phillips opened the discussion about the Male Diversion Program to those attending the March meeting, then noted the planning efforts are drawing to a close. Phillips and William C. Kellough signed the letter of incorporation, another step in keeping non-violent male offenders between 18 and 25 years old out of prison.  Incorporators include Phillips, with the Tulsa County Public Defenders office; Kellough, attorney; and Robert Nigh, Tulsa County Public Defender.  Designated board members include: Stephanie Horton with Family & Children’s Services; Eddie Evans, vice president of 100 Black Men of Tulsa and retired from Youth Services of Tulsa; Dr. Daniel Stockley, and Larry Benge with Oxford House of Tulsa. Final program details are being worked out and committee meetings are set to ensure that all participants are on the same page. The meeting was emotional for Phillips who expressed his appreciation for the hard work to the participants for their nearly year-long effort to get the Male Diversion Program organized.

“We have a telephone number — 918-934-2181 — and a mailing address — P.O. Box 3266, Tulsa, OK 74101 — and that is another step in the overall organization process,” he said. There is a lot of interest. “I also have spoken to the Owasso Rotary Club at the request of Tulsa District Judge Daman Cantrell,” he said. “Everyone I have talked to have said it is about time this program is started, and it is past due.” Now the big challenge is developing an operating budget and getting grants written. Kellough said the incorporation papers will be filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and the application for tax-exempt status will be filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Foundations are only allowed to give to tax-exempt organizations, he added. In addition to funding, related housing, monitoring, education and job placement matters are being finalized. The Male Diversion Program will be open to those between 18 and 25 years old who have pleaded guilty to non-violent felony offenses, but do not qualify or are not candidates for other programs such as Drug Court, Veterans Court or Mental Health Court. Individuals admitted to the program will live in a separate, structured and strictly disciplined environment for a minimum of one year. They will either be on probation or their case will be pending in district court.

All those in the program will be monitored 24/7 and they will be frequently and randomly drug tested. There will be frequent and complete accountability to the court, the district attorney and defense counsel.

Over 13,000 people are incarcerated in Oklahoma for non-violent crimes.

The 1st Step Male Diversion Program will save Oklahoma taxpayers money by helping men beat their addiction problems and reducing recidivism. It will preserve families, reduce prison populations and return productive young men to our community. Support us with a generous donation to help save young men’s lives

First Step Male Diversion Program
321 S. Frankfort Ave., Tulsa, OK  74120