Michelle is a criminal system impacted advocate having been incarcerated twice, in Missouri and most recently in the federal system. Having experienced incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic, she is intimately aware of the dire reality faced by our imprisoned loved ones as well as the egregious actions and apathetic behavior by the vast majority of institution staff and administrators. She is dedicated to using her experiences, knowledge, determination and voice in the struggle for justice and recognition of humanity. Michelle has recently been appointed to the position of Racial Justice Coordinator at Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, where she and her colleagues will continue to advocate for abolition of the death penalty in Missouri.
In addition, Michelle’s advocacy efforts extend to other areas, including exoneration for the wrongfully convicted, higher education for incarcerated and reentered individuals, humane and adequate healthcare, and decarceration. The latter included advocacy as part of Empower Missouri’s Smart Sentencing Coalition, where she lobbied for passage of HB 192 during the 2019 Missouri State Legislative session. This statute reformed the mandatory minimum sentencing policies and allowed for earlier parole hearings. Michelle is a graduate of From Prisons to PhD’s (P2P) Cohort 15 and is also on the Board of several organizations including Filling in the Gap, Missouri CURE, and 2nd Chance Freedom Foundation. She has been interviewed twice by local television stations to speak out about the pandemic inside of prisons and will continue to be a voice for those suffering from COVID in prisons.