This is a short animated PSA film in support of the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC) to help raise awareness about the need for reform of Measure 11, a law which allows for some Oregon Youth to be prosecuted and sentenced as adults, without potential for early release. The film was created specifically for use on OJRC’s social media channels.
The film recounted the backstory and history of the law - including why it was initially approved via a ballot measure by Oregonians. In addition to shining light on the context of the time the law was enacted, the film highlights the inherent problems with the law, the biases the law is abetting and new proposed changes to the law to make it more ethical and transparent. The hope is that by not only sharing the history and problems with the law that proposed reforms would make it that much easier for the public to support modifying the law with all the facts at their disposal.
The film was made with the idea of shareability in mind. By making it available on various social media channels it would be more easily shared by OJRC, its supporters and anyone else who has a social media account with vested interest in this reform message.
For more than twenty years, people convicted under Oregon's Measure 11 law had faced mandatory minimum sentences for serious crimes. Children as young as 15 would be charged under Measure 11 and prosecuted as adults. While research shows that young people's brains aren't fully developed until their mid-to-late 20s, Measure 11 allowed children to be sentenced as though they had the culpability of adults. A series of US Supreme Court decisions has prompted an overhaul of youth sentencing laws in light of growing understanding of brain science. More than half of states have changed sentencing laws for youth to respond to the updated Supreme Court decisions, but Oregon had not.
This unfair law was providing harsh penalties for youth that physically did not have the capacity to understand and evaluate the consequences for themselves or others of their criminal actions. The fact that the criminal justice system was not ever taking into account this developmental lapse between children and adult decision making was a poignant human rights issue.
The goal of the film and campaign was to raise awareness about the need for reform of the current criminal justice methods targeting minors and disproportionately affecting minors of color, known as Measure 11. Our efforts needed to secure a 2/3rds majority vote in favor of Senate Bill 1008. The vote took place during the Oregon Senate session and the subsequent vote was held at the Oregon Legislature meetings in the Spring of 2019. Our communication efforts needed to overwhelmingly convince the majority of the Senators present to vote, to be effective.
This film was produced to be within the time constraints limits of Twitter (2:20), where OJRC enjoys a large audience. OJRC also has large followings on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has the capacity to host longer form content, while Instagram tops out at only :60. Both Facebook and Twitter provide the option for people who view the film to share it to their own accounts, while Instagram does not. Our goal was maximum overall shareability for one version of the film. In our creative development strategy we felt it most efficient to prioritize those the FB and IG platforms for this film. Creatively we wanted a look and feel that would be graphic, bold and memorable. By using this style of animation, stills could be easily pulled for use on social media posts in support of the initiative. The style of animation is similar to historic political poster and DIY zine styles that we hoped might resonate with young and politically active viewers.
We wanted to create content that would speak to those in a position of power to change the law, specifically Oregon legislators. We prioritized all social media channels with the potential to help share and spread the message in the film.
Despite the run time of the campaign being a highly compressed time frame, only two weeks before the vote, the results were impressive for a hyper local political issue. The film received over 40,000 direct views across all social media channels and a 150 million potential impressions amongst the followers of retweets – particularly and most notably from people across the state who work on the front lines in the criminal justice field.
As a result of the film and social media coverage, the Oregon Legislature approved SB 1008 (Measure 11), remarkably, without amendments. This initiative was a tense push for the law’s adoption, down to the wire, as it required a ⅔rds majority to pass. Ultimately the campaign was successful and the efforts paid off just in time.
The film production and social media campaign was a massive effort with all involved to achieve what is truly a generational change in youth sentencing laws in Oregon. The success of the film and campaign sends a message that Oregon is committed to a realignment in criminal justice, toward rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism rather than lengthy sentencing and the creative approach resonated both with voters and legislators.