A Labor Imperative: Dispelling Hollywood Myths About Working in Corrections

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The New Hampshire Department of Corrections (NHDOC) faced a staffing shortage in the state prisons. The timing was especially acute as NHDOC was set to open a new state prison for women in Concord with significantly expanded facilities and services for inmates. Montagne Communications was asked to help increase awareness and drive job applications within a specific, two-month window, through a targeted earned media campaign.

Montagne’s strategy had to thread a fine line – raise awareness of the new NHDOC recruitment campaign without causing public alarm about staffing shortages at the state’s prison facilities. Focusing on dispelling common myths about working in corrections, Montagne aimed to personalize the job and highlight the positive aspects the career path by featuring current corrections officers (COs). Montagne worked with the NHDOC to identify COs that could be highlighted and quoted in the campaign press release and media pitches.

The Montagne team developed a targeted list of reporters and editors who would likely be interested in the story, distributed the press release to them, and followed up with outlet-specific pitches. Montagne also capitalized on the grand opening of the state’s new women’s prison, ensuring that every media story about the new facility included information about the CO recruitment campaign.

Montagne’s strategy and campaign resulted in NHDOC media coverage with the Associated Press, Concord Monitor, Laconia Daily Sun, and Union Leader, including CO interviews with The Berlin Sun, The Caledonian Record, The Hippo and WTPL/WEMJ (radio). Montagne also garnered interest in a ‘Day in the Life of a CO’ segment from NH Chronicle (WMUR-TV). This positive exposure helped generate more than 300 job applicants, exceeding the campaign goal.