The announcement by the DOC that the William S. Keys Correctional Facility in Fort Supply, Oklahoma will close by the end of 2021 caused great commotion in Oklahoma–but not in the way it should have. Citizens and legislators alike lamented that the closing would wreak havoc on Fort Supply’s economy and acknowledged that the 140 employees of the facilities would lose their jobs or have to relocate to remain an employee of the Department of Corrections (DOC). While the loss of any number of jobs is unfortunate, the jobs could be replaced within Fort Supply by turning the land of William S. Keys into a new opportunity for economic growth and employment stability in Woodward County.
The OK Messages Project, led by Executive Director Cheri Fuller, takes trained volunteer teams into prisons to coach and film incarcerated parents reading a book to their child and sharing a positive message. The organization mails the book and DVD of the parent reading the story to approximately 1,000 children before Christmas and 1,000 children for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.