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MEMO: The Case for People First Reentry: A Just Approach to Support People Coming Home From Prison

May 2023

We are practitioners of community-based, resident-centered reentry housing and care, and we are formerly incarcerated people with personal experience with these systems. We wrote this memo to share our core values and principles that we have developed over years of personal and professional experience. We call this approach People First Reentry. It is based on six key principles: (1) agency, (2) leadership by people with lived experience, (3) a commitment to meeting basic human needs, (4) trauma awareness, (5) flexible arrangements, and (6) an overall restorative approach to harm. 

In this session, panelists shared the principles of people first reentry as formerly incarcerated reentry practitioners and leaders across the country who currently run reentry houses with a people first approach. Panelists included Terah Lawyer-Harper - Executive Director of Creating Restorative Opportunities & Programs (CROP), Stacey Borden - Founder of New Beginnings Reentry Services, Marlo Da Motivator - Executive Director of Motivating and Transforming Lives, Rasheed Stanley Lockheart - Reentry Director and Richard Cruz - Co-Executive Director of The Ahimsa Collective.

WEBINAR: Briefing for Philanthropic Funders 

June 28, 2023

If you are in philanthropy and would like to request a copy of this webinar briefing on June 28, 2023, please email and we will send you a link. Panelists included: Ken Oliver: Executive Director of Checkr Foundation, Richard Cruz and Rasheed Stanley-Lockheart of The Ahimsa Collective, Armand Coleman: Executive Director of the Transformational Prison Project,  and Courtney Santesero:  Director of Residential Programs Peaceprints of NY. Hosted by Maisha Quint with the Libra Foundation and Chloe Cockburn, CEO of Just Impact Advisors.


RADIO SERIES: Crime Survivor Stories

August 22, 2022

KCBS RADIO | This five part series by KCBS follows a group of survivors and kin of victims who have gone through the VOD Program with The Ahimsa Collective. The piece documents their interaction with incarcerated people at Soledad State Prison around a collective journey of healing and accountability.

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ARTICLE: "He befriended his brother’s murderer. In each other, they found healingOctober 11, 2021

LA TIMES | This story of two men provides a window onto California's Victim Offender Dialogue program, which facilitates meetings between people in prison and the individuals they harmed. This dialog was facilitated by Ahimsa VOD Program Director Martina Lutz Schneider.


ARTICLE: "Can face-to-face meetings between a victim and an abuser help a society overwhelmed with bad behavior?" July 21, 2021

THE CUT | An in-depth article about bringing healing to people who have caused and been subjected to intimate violence, told in the context of the #MeToo and restorative justice movements. This article sites Executive Director, sonya shah.

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VIDEO: Adrienne Maree Brown in Conversation with sonya shah

February 12, 2021

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) | sonya shah interviews adrienne maree brown about transformative justice, cancel culture, and pleasure activism.


VIDEO: Rasheed Stanley-Lockheart on the Today Show 

February 1, 2021

TODAY SHOW | Rasheed shares his journey after being incarcerated at age 15 to becoming a mentor to men and women upon their release from prison.

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ARTICLE: "Being a Prison Firefighter Taught Me to Save Lives"

October 1, 2020

THE MARSHALL PROJECT | Rasheed Stanley-Lockheart, Ahimsa Program Manager, tells how he became a first responder.

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VIDEOS: Centering the Needs of Survivors

March 2020

Building Accountable Communities Project with the Barnard Center for Research on Women | Featuring nuri nusrat, sonya shah, Elliott Fukui, adrienne maree brown, Stas Schmiedt, Lea Roth, RJ Maccani, Priya Rai, Rachel Herzing, and Esteban Kelly


WEBINAR: How do we walk our talk? Exploring restorative organizational practices. October 16, 2019


PODCAST: "Tell Christy I love her"

October 16, 2019

Ear Hustle | Featuring VOD participants, Jason Samuel and Tom & Christy Morgan and VOD Director, Martina Lutz-Schneider.


DOCUMENTARY: The Prison Within

December 2019

Featuring Troy Williams, Sam Johnson, Barry Splillman, Eddie Herrena, sujatha baliga, sonya shah and others. | Watch trailer here.


ARTICLE: Unseen 2019 - Smashing the Patriarchy with Kindness

December 28, 2019

Live Mint | Featuring Sachi Maniar from the Ashiyana Foundation and organizations The Ahimsa Collective has supported and collaborated with in India. 

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VIDEO: What are obstacles to accountability?

October 2019

Building Accountable Communities Project with the Barnard Center for Research on Women | Featuring nuri nusrat, sonya shah, Mimi Kim, Ann Russo, Esteban Kelly, adrienne maree brown, Rachel Herzing, Stas Schmiedt, Lea Roth, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and Mia Mingus

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PLENARY: What is accountability?

April, 2019

Barnard Center for Research for Women co-sponsored Building Accountable Communities: A National Gathering to Transform Harm | Shannon Perez-Darby, Esteban Kelly, RJ Maccani, Mia Mingus, sonya shah, and Leah Todd. Moderated by Piper Anderson. 


CNN SERIES: The Redemption Project with Van Jones

April 28th, 2019 

CNN | Features a dialogue facilitated by Martina Lutz Schneider and Alison Espinosa-Setchko that premiered June 2, 2019


PODCAST: Episode 19 - Restorative Justice with sonya shah

March 13, 2019

JUSTICE IN AMERICA  | Josie Duffy Rice & Clint Smith     


WEBINAR: Adult Survivors as Movement Leaders

January 23, 2019

PreventConnect CALCASA |  Sonya Shah, Aishah Shahidah Simmons & Amita Swadin


ARTICLE: "Sonoma's Martina Lutz Schneider to share stage with victims who have found forgiveness" 

January 10, 2019

SONOMA INDEX TRIBUNE  |  Featuring Martina Lutz Schneider             

WEBINAR: Centering Survivors - A Critical Conversation   

April 18th, 2018

Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice | Featuring Kazu Haga, Alison Espinosa-Setchko, and

Richard Smith            

ARTICLE: "Enough with Naming and Shaming: It's Time for Restorative Justice in Hollywood"   

February 1, 2018

THE WASHINGTON POST  |  Ann Hornaday, featuring sonya shah                 

RADIO: In the Trump Era   

November 16th, 2017

APEX EXPRESS  |  Miko Lee and Jalena Keane-Lee, featuring sonya shah        

WORLD TRUST: Social Impact through Film & Dialogue | Director: Shakti Butler

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