MILWAUKEE — February marks Black History Month, a federally recognized, nationwide celebration that highlights the significant roles that African Americans have played in shaping U.S. history. 

Spectrum News 1 talked with Chantell Jewell, the first Black woman to ever lead the House of Correction in Milwaukee County. Recently, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the appointment of Jewell to the position of House of Correction superintendent. 

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to help and make it safe for everyone, and to make sure people have equal opportunities, equitable opportunities for success,” said Jewell. 

A Milwaukee native, Jewell brings more than 25 years of experience to her new role as head of HOC. For 20 years, Jewell served in various positions within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), including roles as a youth counselor, parole agent, and field supervisor. During her tenure at DOC, Jewell Co-Chaired the Regional Diversity Committee to improve organizational culture, educate staff on implicit bias, and review hiring practices to increase staff diversity. 

Jewell also participated in a statewide committee that developed evidence- based responses to violations in order to improve consistency and decrease racial disparities in the system.

She is already hard at work in her new position in Milwaukee County. 

“One of the things I intend to do at the house of correction is to bring some programming in to strengthen the family because as we know when someone is incarcerated they are not the only one impacted, the real change happens in the community,” she said. “So how do we strengthen those support networks as well as formulate intentional partnerships with our partners in our community so that when people leave the House of Corrections they can get the networks and services that they need to keep from re-entering the justice system.”