FOR MEDIA INQUIRIESjnorton@famm.orgJohn Norton, 202-999-4268
FAMM welcomes Colie Levar Long as Justice Reform Fellow
WASHINGTON – FAMM President Kevin Ring announced today that Colie Levar Long has joined the organization as a Justice Reform Fellow.
“When we say people can grow and change, we are not talking in the abstract. We are talking about people like Colie Levar Long,” Ring said. “Colie committed a serious crime, but he is not the same person today. He is a smart, compassionate individual who wants to help others get the same opportunity for a second chance that he received. He will be a powerful spokesperson for our Second Chances Agenda, which is predicated on creating more pathways for those serving long prison sentences to be reunited with their families.”
Colie is a writer, editor, speaker, mentor, criminal justice reform advocate, youth detention specialist, community projects manager, and returning citizen. In addition to his fellowship with FAMM, he is serving as a Program Associate for Georgetown University’s Prison and Justice Initiative.
Among other career highlights, Colie served as a mentor at the Young Men Emerging (YME) Unit for the Washington, DC Department of Corrections last year and as a leader and facilitator of the program “Turning Life Sentences into a Life of Substance” at USP Lewisburg. His work at YME was part of a short documentary aired on Vice News. Colie has also had numerous virtual speaking engagements at places like Georgetown University, Temple University and American University.
He has been a prolific writer of articles and blogs. In 2014 he published Drama City, a historical book of fiction based on his life and other stories he has heard over the years.
“Everybody makes mistakes in life, but the true measure of a person’s character is how they recover from those mistakes,” said Long. “When I was sentenced to life without parole I could have easily given up, but instead I did everything possible to improve myself and kept believing I would someday walk out of prison as a free man. After 26 years that dream become a reality last month. As Frederick Douglas once said, ‘Without struggle, there isn’t progress.’ I know how much of a struggle it is for incarcerated individuals to achieve a second chance, which is why I am committed to making real progress on their behalf through my efforts with FAMM.”
Colie will be one of three people featured in an upcoming documentary film produced by FAMM about Washington, DC’s Second Look law, which serves as a sentencing reform model for the nation.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal levels and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.