The Community has two arms: Preentry (the carceral inreach arm) and the Correct the Narrative Campaign (uncomfortable outreach arm). Together, these efforts connect prepared incarcerated people with communities better equipped to embrace them both while completing their sentences and upon release.
Our preentry consists of newsletters, read by close to half the Wisconsin prison population and a number of people incarcerated in the federal system. Our newsletter consists of justice reform news, resources, financial and career prep insights, encouragement, and personal development tools and commentary designed specifically for people who are incarcerated. We are also very excited about our Custom Career project with professionals as mentors, industry and business partners, and student volunteers to create a variety of career info packets and ongoing personalized assistance to help those in prison prepare for careers they actually have an interest in, an aptitude for, and have resources and skillset to do. It will be a degree of prep for incarcerated people that has neither happened before or is possible without our direct and constant connections to those inside as credible messengers.
Our uncomfortable outreach consists of the Correct the Narrative Campaign, which promotes the successes, humanity, and agency of people with criminal records in communities that are more indifferent and antagonistic to people with criminal records. The strategy to get to where we are in reentry and justice reform efforts has taken a different approach and commitment than it will take to get to the type of future we envision regarding true safety and justice. Collaboration and reaching far outside our circles and communities to connect with others is the only way there. Visit our Correct the Narrative Campaign page for more info and videos from events and interviews that illuminate so powerfully why the fears and biases surrounding people who break the law need to be corrected.
And contact us if you want to get involved in creating a justice system more worthy of that name so we can help you figure out what organizations and efforts to get involved in, or if you simply want to learn more about this expansive problem. There are many ways to get involved and we can guide you to the path that best fits your values, interests, and resources. Keep moving forward.
I just wanted to thank you for all the help The Community gives those in prison in regards to everything. Because if it wasn’t for the help we get from The Community we honestly wouldn’t know what was going on in here. Thank You.
How You Can Help
We need you and those incarcerated to help us stay informed on reentry and reform news and prison conditions. If you have info, resources, ideas, connections, feedback (esp. constructive criticism) PLEASE send it our way so we can share it with our network and use it to improve our efforts. And we are always looking to connect with passionate people who understand that the health of a society is far more than the people and environment we interact with daily. What we promote grows and grows beyond our control. So what virtues and type of justice do we want to promote?
We accept donations via PayPal, Cash App ($thecommunitynow), Venmo ($thecommunitynow), or checks/money orders sent to The Community, Box 100392, Milwaukee, WI. Keep moving forward.
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Shannon served 17 years in prison in Wisconsin for a massively stupid act of revenge when he was a teenager. He created The Community in 2014 and has run it ever since with the invaluable help of friends and family while finishing his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Upon his release in September 2020, he began a fellowship as a grad student at UW-Milwaukee and a community fellow with the Wisconsin Decarceration Platform. He is also a member of Reentry Rising MKE and Unlock Higher Ed. To learn more about his accomplishments and media interviews visit his LinkedIn page below. Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann Knoedler is a retired newspaper reporter and the mother of Shannon Ross. She is also the Vice President of the Uptown Crossing Neighborhood Association and manages a community garden in Milwaukee.
Jim is a polymath and former librarian who recently obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree. He spent seven years in the Wisconsin prison system.
La Shae Warren
La Shae Warren is a Customer Service professional and has a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. She has years of experience enduring the hardships of supporting and communicating with a loved one in prison.