Dealing with Drugs

The purpose of our public composition has been to inform the public about drug policy and mass incarceration. Though we speak on behalf of drugs and the consequential legal penalties as a whole, we have a primary focus on marijuana because it relates to more modern day reform as it is becoming more commonly legalized. We have chosen to analyze the effects that legalization has had on incarceration, in terms of revenue and the manner in which an incarcerated or charged individual’s sentence is accordingly handled. In order to reach a larger audience, we have comprised multiple means of communication through print media — a poster as a visual invitation to grab attention, as well as a number of distributed pamphlets to provide supportive information, and an electronic source — a blog that contains more in-depth information including other sources such as videos. The link for the blog is provided on 2 platforms: the poster and pamphlet. Within our group, I, Casey, am responsible for the blog, John the poster, and Allison the pamphlet.

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Pennsylvania Budget Issues

For our assignment, we focused on educating our audience about issues with Pennsylvania’s budget and how some of these issues affect the topic of incarceration. We compiled an information packet with an introduction to the issues, a brief history section, an effects section where we focused on public defense and education in prison, a possible political stances section, and finally a letter people can fill out and send to their legislator. Our letter is unique in that we don’t tell our audience exactly what to say, but we allow them to think through the information themselves and fill things out accordingly. We thought this was a unique way to get people more politically involved and tried to be as unbiased as possible in our presentation of the issues in order to allow our audience members to really be able to make their own, educated choices. Going along with this idea, we recognized that we had to be choosy about who our audience was, as the average Pennsylvania citizen might not want to take the time to read through our packet and fill out their own letter. With that in mind, we distributed our packet to politically active clubs on campus whose members would likely be interested in learning more about the budget and how decisions about it could pertain to the issue of incarceration as well as taking a stance and acting on what they learned. We also urge those reading this post to read through our information packet and send the attached letter to your county’s representative.

Information Packet:

Information Packet final 4

–Emily and Bridget

 

 

What Don’t You Know? The Lack of Knowledge of Mass Incarceration

Mass Incarceration is a very large problem in today’s society that not enough people know about. For our project, our group chose to focus on the lack of public knowledge about the issue of mass incarceration. We chose to do this because the first step to solving the problems of mass incarceration is making the public more aware of the severity of the issue.
Our group members include Alexa Bakalarski, Rebecca Cribbs, Mariah Flanagan, Juliette Kelly and Kenna Lutton. We chose to include many elements to our public writing piece in order to increase public awareness. Our website displays all of the work we created. On the website the main feature is our video that we formed from a compilation of student voices since our project focuses specifically on college students lack of knowledge about mass incarceration. Below the video is a collage that viewers can arrange to make pictures bigger and smaller. The pictures are posters that aim to grab the attention of students around campus with thought provoking questions about mass incarceration. Some of the pictures are also pie charts and graphs that show the results of a survey we created online. The data from the survey of 100 Pitt students was analyzed and made into graphs.
Through our work, we hope to not only increase public awareness about the issue of mass incarceration but more importantly show that it is an issue that is underrepresented in the media and in the education system and that it is something that we as a country need to talk more about.
What Don’t You Know Website
Video

Inquiry Email and Back and Forth Emailing with Amachi and the Families and Children of Prisoners Group

To Whom It May Concern:

Good morning! My name is Cheyenne Knight and I am a student at the University for Pittsburgh. I am currently taking a course called Writing for the Public, and we are focusing our work on the theme of mass incarceration and imprisonment. I am working with three other students to raise awareness of children and families of prisoners, the struggles that they face, and the resources that they can utilize. We are very interested in working with local organizations to help raise awareness and assist in promoting the programs and resources that they offer, whether it be through writing brochures, articles, or papers on the subject, making videos about the subject, or even holding public forums/discussions to get the community involved in helping the families of prisoners. I wanted to reach out to you today and ask if you would be interested in working with us or have any advice for us as we embark on raising awareness for this. We are willing to do whatever is needed of us in the scope of public writing/discourse.

Thank you so much, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Take care,

Cheyenne Knight

————

Dear Emily and Kayla,

Thank you so much again for meeting with Kristen and I a few weeks ago! After meeting with Peter, our professor, and discussing how exactly we are allowed to approach our project, working with you all will not be an issue. We will be able to meet with you all and the ambassadors for the meeting on Saturday, November 21st, but after that initial meeting we will not have much time to meet again before Thanksgiving break, finals week, and then winter break. We are still interested in working with you all and contributing as much as possible within these next few weeks. Since we are not meeting until next weekend, is there anything that we can prepare prior to attending? Whether that be research, formulating ideas, potentially creating a script–anything we can do to help! Please let me know.

Also, what time does the meeting start on Saturday?

We hope to hear from you all soon, and thank you again for your time!

Take Care,

Cheyenne

————

Dear Kayla,

Our group met today and will meet again on Thursday to finish up the schedule/timeline for the video production. We got to talking and wanted to find a way to do more for Amachi Pittsburgh. We potentially talked about doing Ambassador spotlights since we would be getting to know the ambassadors on Saturday and what all they do to help the youth. I found the “Meet the Ambassadors” section on your website after our group met and noticed that it was empty, so that is something that we would definitely be interested in helping with if you needed us to do so.

Also, we talked about producing a brochure/flyer to help promote Amachi that either you could distribute or that the four of us could distribute/hang up around campus. We discussed potentially finding an organization on campus that aligned with your organization and what it stands for and distributing these brochures/flyers to them as well.

Another idea we had was to help focus on social media, but I am aware that you have a strong presence on Twitter, Facebook, and the Amachi Pittsburgh app. Your Instagram, however, is not as active, and there does not seem to be a public Ambassador Facebook page where the Ambassadors could share what they are doing in regards to Amachi and what the public can do to help. We thought that maybe we could help set up an account or revamp an existing one, where we could feature some things initially, and then create a guide for the Ambassadors to help them optimize it. A few of us in the group are in charge of social media and PR for organizations we are in on campus, so we have the experience and the resources to make guides.

Sorry that this email is so lengthy, but we are just looking for others ways to help you all! Thank you again for letting us team up with you!

Take Care,

Cheyenne

Video Production Guide and Tentative Schedule for the Families and Children of Prisoners Group

This is the Video Production Guide and the Tentative Schedule for the Ambassadors of Amachi Pittsburgh. When asked, the Ambassadors wanted to focus their self-made video on education, children, and incarceration.

Ambassador Video Production Guide

Stages to Making a Video:

  • Stage 1: Strategic Planning
    • Purpose and Goals of Video
    • To Do: Create goals and brainstorm; create script; put script on board (unless planning to memorize); find additional footage to add in
  • Stage 2: Pre-Production
    • Planning technical aspects to creating and filming the video
    • To Do: Determine where you are going to shoot the video, whether or not you need to stage a scene, whether or not you will need to make props/costumes
  • Stage 3: Production
    • Shoot the video
    • To Do: act; direct; hold script cards
  • Stage 4: Post-Production
    • Put video together
    • To Do: Edit the video
  • Stage 5: Distribution & Marketing
    • Distribute and promote your video
    • Share with friends and family; share through social media (website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email)

Sources: http://www.reelmarketer.com/how-to-make-a-promotional-video/

Groups:

  • Production/Actors
  • Script Writers
  • Scene/Prop Design
  • Film Crew
  • Editors

**Do we have someone who wants to be the secretary/note-taker during production?

  • Take notes at beginning of meeting/Reviews notes and goals from prior meetings
  • Take notes at the end of meeting

 

Schedule (Tentative):

11/21/15—Stage 1: Strategic Planning

  • Introduction to video plans
    • Discuss stages, groups, and schedules
  • Goal Setting
    • What are we trying to accomplish with this video?
    • Who is our intended audience?
  • Brainstorming Ideas
    • Everyone work to brainstorm ideas/content
    • Come together and share ideas; finalize all that we want in video
  • Split up into groups for the rest of video planning and production; beginning working in groups next meeting (12/5/15)

 

12/5/15—Stage 1 & Stage 2: Planning & Pre-Production

  • Review goals for the day
  • Split up into groups:
    • Production/Actors / Script Writers / Scene/Prop Design work together today
      • Create script
      • Determine where we are going to shoot the video
      • Do we need to stage a scene?
      • Will we need to make props/costumes?
    • Film Crew
      • Familiarize yourselves with the camera; practice
    • Editors
      • Familiarize yourselves with video editing software
    • Reconvene
      • Have each group review what they accomplished today
      • Review/Add to script—if approved by all, split up for memorization or transfer onto script cards
      • Are we ready for production during the next two meetings? (Can extend the Pre-production stage for as long as it takes)

 

12/19/15—Stage 2 & Stage 3: Pre-Production & Production

  • Review goals for the day
  • Finalize everything that needs to be accomplished before filming
    • Review notes from the end of last meeting
  • Split up into groups:
    • Production/Actors
      • Begin shooting video
      • Production: keep everyone and everything on track
      • Actors: act
    • Script Writers
      • Hold up script cards
      • Help actors with lines if need be
    • Scene/Prop Design
      • Keep everything on track with scene/props/costumes, etc.
      • Work alongside Production
    • Film Crew
      • Film
    • Editors
      • Work with Film Crew
    • Reconvene
      • Have each group review what they accomplished today
      • What are our goals for the next meeting?
      • Is there anything we need to change with the script/set/props?

 

1/2/16—Stage 3: Production

  • Review goals for the day
  • Split up into groups:
    • Production/Actors
      • Begin shooting video
      • Production: keep everyone and everything on track
      • Actors: act
    • Script Writers
      • Hold up script cards
      • Help actors with lines if need be
    • Scene/Prop Design
      • Keep everything on track with scene/props/costumes, etc.
      • Work alongside Production
    • Film Crew
      • Film
    • Editors
      • Work with Film Crew
    • Reconvene
      • Have each group review what they accomplished today
      • What are our goals for the next meeting?
      • Are we ready to edit and put together the video?

 

1/16/16—Stage 4: Post-Production

  • Review goals for the day
  • Edit the video
    • Do we need to add more to the video?
    • Do we need to reshoot any scene?
    • What do we like/dislike about the material we have?
  • Reshoot if necessary
  • Review; What are our goals for next meeting?

 

2/6/16—Stage 4: Post-Production

  • Review goals for the day
  • Edit the video
    • Do we need to add more to the video?
    • Do we need to reshoot any scene?
    • What do we like/dislike about the material we have?
  • Reshoot if necessary
  • Finalize video
  • Review
    • Are we ready to distribute this video?

 

2/20/16—Stage 5: Distribution & Marketing

  • Brainstorm how you want to share the video, where you want to share the video, and when you want to share the video
    • Who is our intended audience?
    • Who can help us promote this?
    • Are there any other groups/organizations/websites/newspapers/magazines who would be willing to help distribute our video?
  • Share through social media:
    • Website
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Email

 

For more information, check out Amachi at http://www.amachipgh.org/

amachi

Private Prisons & Information Literacy

Private prisons, also called “for-profit” prisons, are third-party correctional facilities where individuals are physically confined or incarcerated. Government agencies outsource the responsibilities of incarceration to private corporations who view prisons as a business.

Two of the most prominent correctional companies are The GEO Group, Inc. and the Corrections Corporation of America. The business models of these companies typically involve contracts from the government paying per occupied bed, motivating the companies to reach maximum capacities in their facilities.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.10.26 PM

Because the GEO Group and the CCA are both privatized corporations, their presentation of data involves revenue, profits, and stock information, primarily aimed towards their investors.

Additionally, these groups discuss the decreased cost of building facilities and their contribution to job growth in the United States.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.11.17 PM          Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.11.12 PM

 

Activist groups against the privatization of prison steer away from monetary data and focus on the humanitarian argument. They cite the increase in incarcerated population and the effect of overcapacity facilities on prisoner quality of life.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.12.32 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.12.37 PM

These groups also highlight data about private incarceration corporations that are not displayed by corporations themselves, including the number of prisons over maximum capacity and the resulting actions, the salary differences between correctional officers in private and public facilities, and the differences in stays between prisoners in public and private facilities. Groups also emphasize the revenues of these corporations but do so by comparing revenues to corporations or stocks in other fields.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.13.28 PM

 

These businesses and activist groups promote two sides of the same issues: for-profit prisons. However, each group uses information literacy to recognize information necessary to form a cogent argument supporting their cause. By selectively choosing data to present, the groups are more likely to persuade their audience towards agreeing with their cause. However, to be an objective critic, one must view both side of the issues and analyze which data was selected by whom and why the data was selected. By criticizing both the “pro” and “con” sides of the private prison argument, it is clear that although the data presented is neutral, there is significant bias in the presentation and selection of data.

 

A poster visualization of information literacy involving for-profit prisons can be seen here.