‘Correcting the Narrative’ works to bridge gap between formerly incarcerated, law enforcement

September 5, 2023

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Posted at 9:29 PM, Aug 31, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Supporters were lined up out the door to be a part of Thursday night’s Correcting the Narrative fundraiser.

It was put on by Milwaukee non-profit The Community which works to provide resources and support for formerly incarcerated people.

Michaiah Belle, a performer at the event known as Bad Life Ace, is one of the people who have experienced that help first-hand.

“I myself was incarcerated, I did 22 years,” said Belle. “I’ve been home going on three years now.”

He says support from the community has been crucial for him since returning.

“I struggled a lot,” Belle admitted. “But it’s through these groups that I’ve been able to get positive enforcement and advice, help, other resources, and stuff like that, so they’re vital.”

94% of incarcerated people in America end up being released back into the community where they offended. In Wisconsin, 40% of those who re-enter society end up back in prison.

“We need the community’s help. Part of the reason why we ended up in the places that we ended up is because we didn’t have the strong support system, so it’s extremely important to get as many people involved as possible,” Belle told TMJ4.

But Thursday’s event wasn’t just for the formerly incarcerated. There were violence survivors, Department of Corrections workers, police officers, firefighters, and nonprofit organizers from across the nation.

Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffery Norman was among the officers, judges, and lawyers who were serving the food at Thursday night’s event.

Executive director, Shannon Ross, says the reason behind bringing everyone together was to promote human connection and encourage others to question their biases.

“Challenge yourself and challenge folks when they have ideas about folks who have records or folks in general,” said Ross. “Ask yourself if we can do better. Instead of just judging, how do we problem solve?”

Ross and ‘The Community’ are working to not only help those coming out of prison but to make sure they have the support needed so they don’t go back.