The U.S. has 5% of the world's population and 25% of its prisoners (2.3 million total). A vast majority of inmates will re-enter our communities after serving their time (10,000 per week between state and federal prison). Helping these returning citizens succeed is the right thing to do, it makes our communities safer, AND it reduces our tax burden.
Highlighting unfairness within the US criminal justice system is useful for allies and policy makers but much less useful-- and potentially demoralizing-- for returning citizens and their families. We choose instead to create role models by sharing success stories of men and women who have figured out their path forward after experiencing the criminal justice system.
After completing an 18-year prison sentence for a nonviolent drug crime, Erik Burgess knew he was never going back to prison. Since his release, his passion has been focused on helping others cope with the stress of reentry.
In April 2016, Erik attended a community discussion on mass incarceration, hosted by Jacob Smith in Detroit. The two quickly began talking about Erik's idea to launch a podcast aimed at helping returning citizens like himself. They teamed up with writer/poet/artist/DJ/mural muse Imani Mixon, and the rest is history.
From left to right, The Returning Citizen podcast co-host Jacob Smith, Imani Mixon, and Erik Burgess.