Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign

Through generous funding from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Outreach Extensions launched the Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign in 2003 - which proved to be a highly successful endeavor. The original two-year timeline extended to six as new media tools and resources were developed to serve diverse audiences. During these six years, ending in 2008, the Reentry Campaign raised community awareness as well as facilitated discussion and decision making about solution-based prisoner reentry programs that fostered public safety and supported healthy communities. Secular and faith-based community coalitions and organizations joined reentry efforts to assist formerly incarcerated men and women and their families.

  • Organized a sustainable awareness campaign through an extended media pipeline of 17 broadcast documentaries on reentry. OMAR & PETE, the campaign's core documentary, reached a cumulative audience of 1.3 million. Together, the 17 documentaries reached 9.4 million viewers.
  • Developed and distributed a range of media tools and resources that served diverse audiences. Free screening copies (over 55,000 copies of videos and DVDs) enabled a wide range of nonprofit community and faith-based organizations and institutions (education, criminal justice, government) to raise awareness, mobilize audiences, and build reentry networks, programs, and support structures. Reentry tools and resources included:
    • 17 television documentaries
    • Two public radio documentaries
    • Episode in a children’s television series
    • Two DVDs of specialized outreach videos and resource guides
    • One non-broadcast outreach video
    • Computer CD-ROM for youth
    • Print materials – reentry resource guide and discussion/resource guides for most productions
    • Comprehensive and interactive Web site
    • Communication vehicles including the bimonthly Reentry E-Newsletter
  • Created Outside the Walls: A National Snapshot of Community Based Prisoner Reentry Programs (DVD) to showcase innovative and effective reentry programs across the country – 23 video vignettes and profiles of 96 reentry programs. Distributed 17,500 to a range of reentry stakeholders. Hundreds of community based organizations shaped new services, recruited staff and volunteers, and shared reentry projects using Outside the Walls.
  • Produced To Serve This Present Age: Reentering Through Faith (DVD) to provide a comprehensive orientation on reentry for clergy and lay leaders including exemplary reentry programs. In association with the National Alliance for Faith and Justice, 16,000 were distributed and hundreds of professional faith and lay leaders trained staff and volunteers to create reentry ministries and support services.
  • Provided grants to local Making Connections sites and public television stations. Reaching more than 4.2 million people, their work resulted in the development and distribution/broadcast of additional reentry media assets and resources such as:
    • Local productions
    • Town hall meetings / broadcasts
    • Television and radio programming
    • Interstitial spots / PSAs
    • Educational/print materials
    • Promotion and advertising
    • Web sites and online communications
    • Ready To Learn early education and parent/caregiver trainings
    • Station and community events
    • Community outreach activities
  • Cultivated strategic alliances to gain reentry expertise, distribute campaign resources, and engage key audiences and stakeholders. These included the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Urban Institute, Council of State Governments, the National Alliance of Faith and Justice, Interdenominational Theological Center, P.O.V. television series on PBS, Public/Private Ventures, the 12-City Initiative, and the Center for Social Media at American University. Recruited allies, The Fortune Society, and the Alliance for a Media Literate America to help such as the Maryland Reentry Partnership/Enterprise Foundation, Tuerk House, Federal Resource Center for Children of Prisoners write/review discussion and resource guides for campaign documentaries.
  • Participated in numerous national and regional conferences to present the Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign and engage their constituencies. Examples include American Parole and Probation Association, American Correctional Association, Virginia Community Criminal Justice Association, National TASC Conference, and Transition of Prisoners Annual Conference. Activities included conducting workshops on how to use media, serving on panels, sponsoring booths, and distributing media resources. Created speaking opportunities and provided compensation for individuals presented in Reentry Campaign documentaries; their involvement humanized the issues, motivated audiences, and built self-esteem for themselves.
  • Created a replicable media model of a long-term awareness effort around a pressing social issue that resulted in solution-based action. Elements of this strategic initiative included media asset building, research to illuminate key issues and best practices, partners and advisors, resource development, collaborations, community engagement, communications, and sustainability.