Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement

Activists directly affected by the Prison Industrial Complex have begun organizing to develop a national movement.  Around the nation, over the past several decades, formerly incarcerated people have been instrumental in local victories regarding criminal justice and other social justice struggles.  It is time to unify their voice, undiluted by other allies who lack the experience of incarceration, and/or the reduced civil rights while living on probation or parole.

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A Steering Committee has volunteered their efforts, consisting of Malik Aziz (Philadelphia), Susan Burton (Los Angeles), Pastor Kenny Glasgow (Dothan, Alabama), Arthur League, Aaliyah Muhammed, and Dorsey Nunn (San Francisco/Oakland), Bruce Reilly (Providence), and Tina Reynolds (New York).

The Steering Committee  organized 50 others to first convene in Alabama, then Los Angeles, in 2011.  Members are putting aside their local struggles in order to develop a common platform regarding restoration of civil rights, stopping prison expansion, elimination of excessive punishments, and protecting the dignity of family members.


“The Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement is committed to fight for the full restoration of civil and human rights for all people, particularly those who have been convicted by the criminal justice system and the communities they represent.  The criminal system has rendered millions of people, and their families, into an under-caste of society, with no regard for rights or justice.  We will speak in our own voices.  We will recognize all impacted people, including the voices of those locked Inside, and of youth being criminalized, to develop both regional and national accountability.  By coming together as one with a national platform, we will aid legislative, litigation, and advocacy struggles, generating the power of mass protest towards the systemic process of oppression.  We will organize, educate, and mobilize in a structure that is broad enough to embrace the various motivations, skills, and tactics of those who take up the banner of this Movement.  This mass Movement of the people is an extension of the work that has been led by those most affected by the prison system, yet inclusive of all people willing to mobilize for social justice.”

Bios of the Steering Committee:

Malik Aziz, Men United for a Better Philadelphia / National Exhoodus Council

Malik is a founder and Chairman of the National Exhoodus Council, with a presence in 24 cities across the nation.  He began organizing while incarcerated in Graterford Prison, and eventually found a role in the Philadelphia mayor’s office developing alternatives to incarceration and recidivism.

Susan Burton, A New Way of Life (Los Angeles, CA)

Susan Burton and her story of perseverance in overcoming overwhelming odds is an inspiration to women across the United States, particularly formerly incarcerated women and women in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs.

After cycling in an out of the criminal justice system for nearly fifteen years, Susan gained freedom and sobriety and founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project in 1998. She opened her doors to other women returning home from prisons and jails, offering shelter, safety, leadership, and support to those seeking to rebuild their lives. Dedicating her life to helping other women break the cycle of incarceration, homelessness, addiction and despair, Susan became a recognized leader in the criminal justice reform and reentry rights movements.

Susan was recently nominated as a CNN hero in the category of “community crusader.” She has been a Soros Justice Fellow, a Women’s Policy Institute Fellow, and a former Community Fellow under the Violence Prevention Initiative of The California Wellness Foundation. Susan is a longtime Board Member of the Los Angeles Sober Living Network that provides housing for thousands of people in in Los Angeles who would otherwise be homeless.

In 2007 Susan was appointed to Governor Schwarzenegger‘s Little Hoover Sentencing Reform Commission and Gender Responsive Strategies Commission. Susan completed a Chemical Dependency Certificate course at Southwest College in Winter 2002, as well as certificate programs in Non-Violent Organizing and Three Principles of Human Development at UCLA

Pastor Kenny Glasgow, The Ordinary People Society (Dothan, AL)

Pastor Glasgow is Executive Director/Founder of TOPS, who provide rehabilitation to repeat offenders while creating a program that targets youth before they reach the Criminal Justice System.  Since his own release from the criminal justice system, he has remained committed to saving souls and ensuring that redemption is in the lives of those who have served their debts to society.

He has been instrumental in registering over 18,000 ex-felons to vote in the state of Alabama, and this past year TOPS were able to register people to vote in 10 Alabama jails after winning a lawsuit under the Moral Turpitude Act. Kenny has gained the support of the Alabama Department of Corrections by allowing him to administer TOPS programs in Alabama prisons and jails known as the Prodigal Child Project. His abilities to work for criminal justice reform were highlighted in the passage of the Sentencing Guidelines through the AL Legislature in 2006, and leadership on many boards and organizations throughout the South.

He’s received numerous awards including the Man of the Year in Dothan Ala. 2004-2005, The Fighter of the Flame award at the 2008 Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Selma Ala., and The Lyndon B. Johnson Political Freedom Award at the Alabama Democratic Convention 2008.

Arthur League, All of Us or None/Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (San Francisco, CA)

Arthur League has an over 40-year history as a community activist involved in social and criminal justice work.  In the 70’s & 80’s, during a time of political unrest, Arthur was an active member of the Black Panther Party.  His political beliefs and actions resulted in his serving 7 years in the California State Prison system.  Arthur is a former Director of the Concord Re-Ed Project, a non-profit organization working with adolescents in a group home setting.  Arthur is a founding member of Timers and All of Us or None, community led organizations of formerly-incarcerated individuals committed to empowering people in communities most affected by the Prison Industrial Complex.

Arthur also serves on the board of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, a 30 year old San Francisco based organization dedicated to advocating for the human and civil rights of incarcerated parents, children, family members and people at risk for incarceration. His commitment to social and criminal justice work has given him the opportunity as a Journeyman Plumber to assist many young people coming out of prison to join the building trades unions and apprenticeships.

Aaliyah Muhammed, All of Us or None/LSPC (San Francisco, CA)

Aaliyah brings a long history of advocacy support and experience working with people in prison and family members, as well as formerly-incarcerated individuals and their respective families.  She is a former prisoner and a natural organizer who has worked with diverse groups of people inside prison and in the community.  Aaliyah has the knowledge, dedication and passion to support work focused on issues regarding incarceration.

Her love for knowledge and equality has given All of Us or None the ability to broaden policy work in Sacramento.  Her organizing abilities have increased the presence of formerly-incarcerated people in the State Capitol, allowing her to supervise contingents of students and advocates in legislative arenas.  Her efforts have resulted in creating avenues for former prisoners to take part in policy work in a variety of ways, from organizing community summits in Sacramento regarding legal expungement remedies to grassroots fundraising efforts to support the children of incarcerated people.  Aaliyah has given the Sacramento community an opportunity to learn about the legal remedies available to people looking to move on with their lives.

Prior to working with the All of Us or None project, Aaliyah was the Intern Coordinator for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.   Her responsibilities included recruitment of law students as well as training and supervising interns at LSPC.  She is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau at LSPC and represents All of Us or None during conferences and on panels discussing the conditions and struggles for women inside.

Dorsey Nunn,  All of Us or None/ LSPC (San Francisco, CA)

Dorsey is a co-founder of All of Us or None, a civil and human rights organization comprised of formerly incarcerated people, prisoners and their allies.  He is also a formerly-incarcerated person and Executive Director for LSPC.  Dorsey has served a leadership role in many organizations, including:  Standing Committee on Legal Services For Prisoners for the State Bar of California (former co-chair);  Institution and Alternative Section for the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association; Legal Aid Association of California (Board member); Criminal Justice Consortium (former co-chair); National Organizing Committee for Critical Resistance (a Founding Member);  Free at Last (co-founder), a community based recovery and rehabilitation center.  Dorsey hosted a radio program (KPFA, San Francisco) on criminal justice related issues, and has spoken extensively on issues relating to prisoners, their children and family members.

Mr. Nunn has won numerous awards including, The Human Excellence Award presented by the San Francisco Muslim Community Center, Certificate of Appreciation presented by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition presented by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.  He was a 1996-1998 California Wellness Fellow.  Most recently Mr. Nunn was awarded the prestigious Fannie Lou Hamer award from the African American Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bruce Reilly, Direct Action for Rights & Equality (Providence, RI)

After a decade as a Jailhouse Lawyer on the inside, Bruce hit the ground running in 2005.  He served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the RI Right to Vote Campaign and drafted the final language of a state constitutional amendment that re-enfranchised felons on probation and parole.  Bruce then wrote a probation reform bill, cultivating the core coalition, which became law after four years of organizing.  He did this, as well as producing a successful play of prisoners’ writings, while still a full time college student.

On the day of his release, Bruce stopped by Direct Action for Rights & Equality (wearing an ankle bracelet), for whom he had been an Inside member of the Behind the Walls committee since inception.  He eventually became a Board member, then organizer, for Behind the Walls, and has contributed to national organizing efforts through the US Social Forum, Allied Media Conference, and Drug Policy Alliance.

Bruce is a “Renaissance Man”, working as an artist, lighting designer, and filmmaker having won several awards for his dramatic writing (screenplay, poetry, and music), while his legal writing has helped people win release from prison.  His blogging on criminal justice has over 200,000 hits in 2010.  Bruce is entering Tulane Law School having received a Dean’s Merit scholarship, and the Earl Warren Scholarship from NAACP-Legal Defense Fund.  He currently serves as the Interim Coordinator for the burgeoning Criminal Justice Funder & Activist Network.

Tina Reynolds, Women On the Rise Telling HerStory (New York, NY)

Tina is Co-Founder and Chair of Women on the Rise Telling HerStory(WORTH). WORTH is an association offormerly and currently incarcerated women who have been empowered by their own experiences while involved in the criminal justice system and beyond.  Through mutual support, leadership development, organizing and telling our stories, WORTH transforms the lives of women who have been directly impacted by incarceration and changes public perception and policy.  Reynolds has received a Master in Social Work from Hunter College.  She is currently an adjunct professor at York, CUNY in the Psychology Department teaching the “Impact of Incarceration on Families, Communities and Children”.  She has published pieces on the abolition of prisons, the impact of incarceration on women and children, formerly incarcerated women and policy change and is an editor of an anthology “Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women inthe United States”.

6 Responses to Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement

  1. Pingback: Formerly Incarcerated Convene to Establish First National Agenda | unprison

  2. L. Amir A. Amma says:

    I know for a fact their is power in numbers. I was incarcerated for nearly two decades and I’ve been release for 9 months. I am a full time student at Lehman college, studying Social work and public policy. If this movement can use my assistance it will be my pleasure to help the disenfranchised in any way possible. I have utilized my time incarcerated to become politically and socially conscious, thus I am now able develop curriculums from a holistic perspective which have our interest,values and goals incorporated in it. I am working to have this curriculum implemented in the academic society in our colleges. It is my opinion that education is the key to empower our disenfranchised family members and communities.


    L. Amir


  3. Wayne Jacobs says:

    Big respect for the work that you’ll do. Hope to see you’ll on the 26th.of Feb.


  4. Pingback: Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement Arises! | unprison

  5. Preddy Ray Sr. says:

    Its great, The numbers bear out that there is potential power by organizing. Statistically over 1 in 5 Americans have some sort of criminal record. Over 12 million have felony convictions, each face discrimination. The power relates to organizing those who have been convicted along with their friends family and supporters. I have long beleived that an organizations run by those who have been directly impacted could be a powerful force. Its needed and I would gladly join.


  6. X-Offenders for Community Empowerment is heading to Nov 2nd Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement Conference, chapters from Phila and Pittsburgh PA will be in attendance! Great job steering committee members..
    Baba Bob Shipman


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