Correct the Narrative Campaign

 

The Correct the Narrative Campaign employs a combination of proven-effective in-person and digital efforts to promote acceptance of people with criminal records as not just, at best, taxpayers, employees, and neighbors, but rather equal citizens, employers, and potential family.

People with criminal records and their supporters go into communities that are more indifferent or antagonistic to them and participate in a variety of legal, respectable activities, from basic labor tasks to mentoring and creative projects to highly-skilled jobs. Virtual events give people from these communities and anywhere else the chance to virtually interact with people with criminal records and their supporters to ask any questions or bring up any concerns, fears, and doubts about decarceration efforts and people with criminal records. Our vignettes (below) powerfully portray the successes, humanity, and agency of people with criminal records. A social media arm will consist largely of testimonials from stakeholders all across the criminal justice system (crime survivors, authorities, community members, loved ones of those serving a sentence, etc.) and features that vary in length and theme (rehabilitative achievements, emotional reunions/releases, restorative justice mediations, successful prison and reentry operations around the world, humorous and insightful vignettes, ads for the volunteer service, and celebrity-narrated pieces or monologues). Lastly, a website will offer updated statistics, opportunities to get involved, and general info and links to other sources addressing a wide variety of misperceptions as well as the above mentioned testimonials, features, and volunteer service. There will also be a number of events to creatively celebrate campaign or individual achievements and raise awareness.

By engaging with these more stereotypically indifferent and antagonistic audiences, they become more supportive of or at least less opposed to decarceration efforts, which will result in greater respect, opportunities, and success for the roughly 70 million adults in the U.S. with a criminal record and their millions more loved ones, especially underage children.

Those we disagree with need us and we need them to achieve a society where we invest in safety and justice more than punishment and separation. IF the world were ideal, no one would have to prove their value and correct biases. However, shoulda/woulda/coulda is not a strategy for change. Hard realities must be embraced and accounted for before sustainable solutions can take place. There is almost no greater example of this than the need to reach out to those who have shown us such disregard and say: “Look. See who we truly are. We need you to confront your misperception of our successes, humanity, potential, and agency.”

“Once you get down to the person, we’re all the same.”  We are confronting communities with the successes, humanity and agency of people with criminal records.

 STEM from Concrete

 

The STEM from Concrete Initiative aims to promote and provide STEM educational resources and opportunities for people with criminal records, esp. those who are currently incarcerated. It is a work in progress and we are eager for any advice, info, or assistance you may have for us to improve this effort as we acquire more involvement and resources in our overall work.
So far we have donated two copies of Schaum’s Outlines Basic Mathematics with Applications to Science and Technology to over a dozen Wisconsin prisons, with no strings attached (several did not respond to our offer or actually turned it down). We are currently working to bring a coding vocational to the WI prison system, like those operated by The Last Mile Works.