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Carrie's Corner: A New Beginning with HOPE Community Services

By Carrie Slatton-Hodges
Wednesday, July 07, 2021

"You have to take what you’ve been through and put back something good from it." – Eddie Warrior Correctional Center RICCT graduate

A newly minted HOPE Community Services case manager believes in making the most of a difficult situation. Her experience as a domestic violence survivor, as well as an 18-month stay at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center’s Regimented Treatment Program (RTP), has provided her with a wisdom and understanding beyond her years.

Rebecca (not her real name, due to confidentiality reasons) is a shining example of the success of the Re-entry Intensive Care Coordination Teams (RICCT) program operated through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and its contract agencies.

Referred by the Eddie Warrior treatment program to HOPE Community Services, she completed RICCT, became a Peer Recovery Support Specialist and wellness coach, and is now a six-year HOPE employee.

In March, she was case-manager certified.

Her mentor, Robert Scott III, is justice services director at HOPE and oversees HOPE’s RICCT program.

RICCT provides treatment services in the community for persons discharged from prison.  It is a nationally recognized initiative that has reduced the rate of prison returns for participants compared with released inmates. Participants within two years of release also have a 56 percent higher reported income than a baseline comparison of released inmates. 

“Robert told me about this program and how they help people kind of ‘come back’ into society, get a job, get an apartment – basically they just help you start your life again,” she said.

“They helped with my probation, they helped get my fines paid so I could get my driver’s license and a vehicle. They taught me how to ride the bus, because I’d never done that before. And they helped me get my first apartment,” she said.

“Through all those first steps, when I’m thinking, ‘All these people must believe I’m a horrible person,’ they were right there with me.”

Rebecca graduated from a small Oklahoma high school and, like many young women with academic ambitions, went on to college. While there, she got into a relationship with a man who later became abusive.

“I hadn’t really had a life experience yet and ended up getting into a domestic violence situation,” she said. “I didn’t know how to tell my family and stayed with him.”

Being trapped in a toxic relationship resulted in an erosion in her mental health and other events and, in 2013, she entered the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center RTP in Taft.

Scott came to see her toward the end of her 18-month stay.

“She was late to the initial visit because she was head of her work detail and wouldn’t let her team leave until the work was finished,” Scott said. “(Because of her dedication to the job), we had a good feeling about her from the very beginning.”

While at Taft, she graduated from Career Tech with a certificate in business administration.

Her conscientiousness and ambition to succeed impressed Scott, but Rebecca said she had a difficult time mustering motivation to apply for jobs. “I was scared and didn’t want to have to explain my background,” she said. “Because I had gone to college right out of high school, I also had no rental experience or job history.

“Robert took away my fears of, ‘I can’t do this,’ and showed me that I could.”

The RICCT program, she said, “saved” her life.

Rebecca said if she can do “just a little bit of what they did for me” for someone else, it would be more than she could ask.

“The RICCT program makes a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “Knowing that what we do actually does matter drives me to be a better person.”

Ultimately, she would like to focus on work in the domestic violence field. Among the thousands of clients served by HOPE Community Services, some are women referred by the Department of Human Services who are trying to obtain custody of their children and others may be seeking help following a domestic assault.

As a case manager with lived experience of domestic violence, “Taking someone to a shelter, to me, means being able to save a life.

“You never know what someone’s story is until you start talking with them,” she said. “Although I may want to say, ‘You need to run,” people can’t always do that if they’re not ready. Every person needs different resources and we’re here for all of that. If I would’ve known there were places like this, maybe my life would’ve been different, but it isn’t. But now I’m getting to use my experience to help others.

“You have to take what you’ve been through and put back something good from it,” she added.

For more information on RICCT programs, contact Stephanie Cottrell at

Carrie Slatton-Hodges, Commissioner

Carrie Slatton-Hodges is currently serving as the Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Prior to her current role, Carrie served 12 years as the Deputy Commissioner for ODMHSAS, overseeing treatment and recovery services through state operated and contracted treatment providers statewide. Carrie has a strong commitment to mental health and addiction recovery for Oklahomans and believes we all deserve to live a valuable, productive life in the community.

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