Women in Recovery - Case Study - Saxum

WorkGeorge Kaiser Family Foundation: Women in Recovery

Challenge

Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state in the nation. Recognizing that this is an issue that impacts children, families and the economy in every community in the state, George Kaiser Family Foundation and several partners embarked on an effort to raise awareness of the issue and achieve specific initiatives to lower the female incarceration rate.

Saxum was hired to assist the foundation with garnering media coverage across the state and to begin implementation of initiatives that would have a long-term impact on incarceration of women in Oklahoma.

Our team’s challenge was to communicate the issue, its impact and the proposed solutions to targeted audiences, including legislators, district attorneys, judges, state officials, community leaders, opinion leaders, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, media and the general public across Oklahoma, with an ultimate goal of garnering the support necessary to change the status quo.

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Strategy/Tactics

Saxum worked to support efforts to reduce female incarceration and promote corrections reform by implementing statewide media relations efforts focused on informing key stakeholders, including, state leaders and decision-makers and the general public on female incarceration, alternatives to incarceration, justice reinvestment initiatives, proposed policy changes and legislative initiatives and other issues related to Oklahoma’s criminal justice system.

Saxum also organized events, including major statewide conference at Oklahoma Christian University, press conferences, guest lectures and other events featuring local and national speakers and elected officials who support reducing female incarceration rates. Saxum assisted with promoting one of the foundation’s key initiatives, Women in Recovery, a Tulsa-based alternative to incarceration program for nonviolent female offenders in Tulsa County.

Results

Oklahoma’s female incarceration rate and the need for criminal justice reform have become topics of discussion among state leaders, elected officials and the general public. Legislation addressing corrections reform was passed in the 2011 session, and additional legislation was introduced for consideration during the 2012 session. Women in Recovery was the topic of three national media placements in 2011, including a Time.com article, a Ms. Magazine article and a Takeaway radio segment, which aired on 55 different National Public Radio affiliates nationwide. Saxum assisted with several Women in Recovery graduations, including a ceremony at the Oklahoma State Capitol with special guests Gov. Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and House Speaker Kris Steele. The event was attended by more than 150 program advocates. Saxum consistently coordinated with media across the state and garnered steady coverage of corrections reform measures supported by the foundation and its partners.

Since January of 2011, Saxum has secured more than 515 media placements for female incarceration initiatives and the overall incarceration issue with a total reach of more than 10.4 million.

Photography provided by Shane Brown Photography. 

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