Providing Support and Fighting Stigma:
A Brighter Way (ABW) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Washtenaw County that was created from the realization of the issues and struggles that many people face while reintegrating back into society after serving time in prison and jail.
A Brighter Way provides assistance, support, and guidance to individuals as they transition back into the community. Our staff and volunteers do so from the time these individuals are referred into the program until they are stably integrated. We work to create a space for people to pursue their goals by offering mentoring services and social support outlets; build personal relationships with employers and housing facilities; and combat the stigma surrounding those re-entering society after time incarcerated.
The Need for Help:
There are approximately 7 million Americans either in prison, jail, or some form of legal supervision in the United States. In Michigan alone, over 9,000 people are released from prisons each year. Many of these individuals often face significant challenges and barriers in re-entering society. While a person may have completed their term of their court adjudicated punishment, the label of “ex-offender” tends to sway the general public to hold negative attitudes towards those re-entering into society. Additionally, issues such as trauma, unemployment, mental health, substance abuse, housing instability, and a lack of community connection are all traditional markers that impact recidivism rates and these challenges tend to affect each other. These many obstacles directly impact the chances for the success of reintegrating people, from employment, to housing, and even education.