Red Arrow Studios-owned shingle 44 Blue Productions has partnered with activist and social entrepreneur Topeka K. Sam to develop both scripted and unscripted series inspired by her work to change the culture of abuse surrounding female incarceration in America.
Sam is the founder and executive director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries, whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through resources and access to high-quality education, entrepreneurship, spiritual empowerment, advocacy and housing. She has fought for the decriminalization and decarceration of women and girls since her release from federal prison in May 2015.
She is also co-founder of Hope House NYC, a safe housing space for women and girls, and serves on the board of directors for Grassroots Leadership and Coalition for Public Safety, and she is the first formerly incarcerated person on the board of The Marshall Project. She hosts “The Topeka K. Sam Show” on SiriusXM UrbanView Channel 126, and is a founding member of The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She has been awarded several scholarships and fellowships for her work.
In 2017, Sam created a video for Mic about Alice Marie Johnson, a grandmother imprisoned on non-violent drug charges, like many others. The video and Johnson’s case inspired Kim Kardashian West to help secure clemency for Johnson after a visit to the White House with president Donald Trump.
Alice Marie Johnson has been in prison for 21 years for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. pic.twitter.com/VFe29D2ve8
— Mic (@mic) October 23, 2017
“44 Blue has a long history of documenting the stories of the U.S. criminal justice system, from our long-running Lockup series on MSNBC, to our current Nightwatch series on A&E. We’re proud to partner with Topeka to showcase her fight for justice and her work around prison reform,” said Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, co-founder and president of 44 Blue Productions, in a statement. “It’s an honor to be trusted to share her story, as Topeka works to rewrite the laws that govern female incarceration.”
“It’s crucial to choose the right team when telling stories as important as these, ones that literally mean the difference between life, death and freedom,” added Sam.
Sam will serve as executive producer on the as-yet unannounced series.