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In this episode, Amplified Voices goes global with Jason and Amber's first international guest, Richard Kemick from Canada. During the podcast, Richard shares his experience interacting with his cousin, Christian who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in a Michigan prison. As they develop a closer relationship, Richard and Christian decided to develop a limited series podcast, titled, Natural Life to share Christian's experiences and humanity with the world, exploring not only deeper questions, but the mundane realities of life behind the walls. The podcast can be found on all major podcast platforms or directly at http://www.naturallifepodcast.comYou can learn more about Richard's work at https://richardkemick.comSupport the show
In this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber and Jason speak with Melissa Tanis, a ferocious advocate for parole justice, compassionate release, and children of incarcerated parents. Melissa shares her story of having her father incarcerated when she was five years old and the impact that it had on her own life as well as the lives of her family members. She shares the emotional path she navigated to reconnect with her dad after many years of no contact. She authentically outlines her feelings and understanding of his complex journey through accountability - highlighting the harshness of a system that sees people and the sum of their crime, rather than as complex human beings with the ability to change. Melissa was able to find her father after many years through his participation in the Shakespeare Behind Bars program and the resulting documentary film. After being denied parole and compassionate release based on the nature of his crime, her father passed away in prison. Melissa is a graduate of Columbia School of Social Work, with a concentration on policy. She is the Policy and Communications Manager for the Center for Justice at Columbia School of Social Work. She has worked for over five years in the Communications and Policy field and has dedicated her work to supporting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their families. She is a member and consultant for the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, an adviser for the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, and a volunteer with the Parole Preparation Project. Support the show
Ray Boyd was incarcerated in 1992, facing a 50 year sentence. He ultimately spent close to 30 years in prison in Connecticut before being released.  Ray experienced Covid 19 while incarcerated and reentry during the pandemic.  Ray shares his story with Amber and Jason. Ray, Amber, and Jason are joined by Barbara Fair from Stop Solitary Connecticut. You can find Ray's book, Model Inmate on Amazon by clicking here.In 2021, the Protect Act to limit the use of Solitary Confinement and create oversight for the Department of Corrections was passed by the Connecticut House and Senate. Governor Lamont vetoed the bill, and instead issued an executive order that can be repealed at any time.  In 2022, Connecticut advocates led by Stop Solitary are organizing to finally have the Protect Act signed into law. You can learn more about Stop Solitary CT visiting here.Background on The PROTECT ActAn Act Promoting Responsible Oversight and Treatment, and Ensuring Correctional Transparency (PROTECT) Act would: 1) create a Commission for Correctional Oversight made up of formerly incarcerated people, family members, experts in medicine, mental health, and corrections, and representatives from the legislative and executive branch; 2) stop extreme isolation and promote effective alternatives, bringing Connecticut in compliance with international minimum human rights standards; 3) end abusive restraints and dehumanizing strip searches; 4) protect social bonds by guaranteeing incarcerated people a minimum number of free letters and access to contact visits; 5) promote correctional officer wellness by requiring trainings and other strategies to mitigate trauma; and 6) promote transparency by requiring public reporting of key corrections department data. Support the show (
In the opening episode of Season 3, Amber and Jason speak with Nicole, a sixteen-year-old girl who authentically shares the experience of having her life turned upside-down at age twelve when her father was arrested, incarcerated and eventually placed on a public registry. Her journey winds from the initial shock, how she was treated at school, to visiting her father while he was incarcerated, to what happened when he was finally able to come home. She also covers how probation restrictions and public registration affect the entire family and what the adults dealing with children with incarcerated parents can do to help. Her most fervent wish in telling her story is to make sure that other kids facing this difficult road know that they are not alone.Support the show (
As the year came to a close, Amplified Voices hosts, Jason and Amber took some time to reflect on everything that 2021 threw at the world. In this candid conversation, they walk listeners through the year;  covering podcast production, behind-the-scenes information, personal triumphs, advocacy victories, guest insights, and so much more. Fans will enjoy a sneak-peek of what's in store for Season 3 as the show continues to serve as a platform to uplift the voices of individuals and families impacted by the criminal legal system in 2022 and beyond.Support the show (
In this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber and Jason sat down with autism advocate, Nick Dubin to discuss his personal experiences involving his early life, autism diagnosis and ultimately his encounter with the criminal legal system.  Nick also spoke of his desire and work towards using his personal experiences to help others on the spectrum, and his new book.About: Nick Dubin was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (now ASD-level 1) in 2004. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Oakland University, a Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of Detroit Mercy, and a Specialist Degree in Psychology and Psy.D. from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology. He has authored many books on autism spectrum disorders including Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety. His latest book is entitled Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, and the criminal justice system. Nick is also on the board of Legal Reform for Intellectually and  Developmentally Disabled (LRIDD). Support the show (
Come meet Tracie Bernardi, a formerly incarcerated activist and co-founder of Once Incarcerated, an organization designed to help  justice impacted families and individuals navigate through collateral damage.  Tracie talks Jason and Amber about her experience with the criminal legal system as a young 19 year old woman who was sentenced to 30 years in prison. She talks about how she ultimately spent 23 years of those years incarcerated with 7 years in solitary confinement. Now, she's back home and doing amazing work in the community.  Tracie is a Smart Justice Leader with ACLU CT and was recently featured in an article on their website.    Once Incarcerated's Website: CT article  featuring Tracie: the show (
Amber and Jason spoke with Marty and took a deep dive into Marty's life before he took actions that landed him in the criminal legal system. Marty shares the bullying and sexual assaults he endured as a young gay man and how this shaped his response to the world. You can hear him express remorse for his actions and what he learned through the process. He describes some aspects of his time in prison. Marty talks about the support he found with ACSOL (, how he has rebuilt his life, and the work he does now to support others.   He also talks about his new book "Thanks for the Infamy."   If you're interested in his book, you can email, go to or send a direct message on Twitter to Marty  @mwmtalent.Support the show (
In this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber and Jason speak with Mark who authentically shares the shock, pain and sense of brokenness that he and his close relatives felt when they discovered sexual harm had occurred within their family. This incident abruptly plunged his elderly father into the criminal legal system, ultimately revealing that he had dementia. Mark describes how he and his father encountered severe injustice on one hand and acts of kindness on the other, as they were forced to navigate a system that is ill-prepared to accommodate individuals with Alzheimer's and Dementia.Support the show (
In this episode, Jason and Amber speak with Morgan Godvin,  a freelance writer, scholar and advocate who spent time behind bars after she sold her best friend heroin and he died of an overdose. In a matter of days, Morgan found herself grappling with the death of her friend while also navigating an unrelenting justice system. Morgan shares her story of addiction and struggle, highlighting how she quickly became aware of racial and socioeconomic disparities in the criminal legal system. She explains how our nation's reliance on incarceration exacerbates addiction and often charges family members, friends, and others who share drugs as murderers while doing nothing to help. In February of 2020, Morgan was appointed to serve as a commissioner on Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission. In January of 2021, she was appointed by the Oregon Health Authority to the Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council where she was one of 21 Oregonians determining the grant funding that came in tandem with drug decriminalization. You can learn more about Morgan at listing of her published writings can be found at: Morgan's appearance on CNN here: the show
In this special episode, Amber & Jason welcome Stop Solitary CT activist and lead organizer, Barbara Fair, back to the show to discuss Governor Lamont's recent veto of SB 1059, known as the Protect Act. The act, meant to uphold and protect the safety of individuals living and working behind bars, recently passed both houses of the  Connecticut legislature, only to stop short of becoming law with the stroke of the Governor's pen. In order to address the inhumane practices challenged by the bill, the Governor subsequently issued an executive order. During the show, Barbara shares her thoughts on the process, feedback from the people affected, and how everyone in the state of Connecticut can get involved, right AWAY to urge the legislature to act to override the veto. Listeners can learn more and get involved utilizing the links below:Stop Solitary CT can be found at http://www.stopsolitaryct.orgFind your Connecticut legislators here: "A Necessary Tool" CT ViewPoints , CT Mirror by Barbara Fair: previous episode with Barbara: the show (
In this episode, Jason and Amber catch up with attorney Kathy Flaherty, a fierce advocate for disability rights. During the conversation,  Kathy explores the parallels between the criminal justice and mental health systems, and explains how advocates in both spaces can work together. Kathy walks the audience through her experience with involuntary commitment, law school and the challenges she faced being admitted to the Connecticut bar due to her mental health treatment history.Kathy currently serves as Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc. (CLRP), a statewide non-profit agency which provides legal services to low income individuals with mental health conditions, who reside in hospitals or the community, on matters related to their treatment, recovery, and civil rights. Prior to coming to CLRP, Kathy spent 15 years as a Staff Attorney at Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc. Kathy combines her personal experience as a recipient of mental health services and her legal background to speak to issues affecting those living with mental health conditions.Kathy can be found tweeting at @ConnConnection.Support the show (
This Amplified Voices conversation with Amber & Jason follows the journey of Anderson Curtis, Senior Field Organizer for Smart Justice with the ACLU of Connecticut. Anderson shares his story, full of examples of both failure and success, as well as emphasizing the people and strategies that helped him during recovery and reentry after incarceration. He encourages those with lived experience to share and advocate, understanding that truth and power are found in forgiving themselves, setting goals, and growing in community with others.  Anderson also shares thoughts on the work he currently supports at the ACLU and recent coalition efforts towards Clean Slate legislation and criminal justice system transparency in Connecticut. Anderson lives with hope and dignity, advocating for people to access employment and housing despite the barriers of discrimination and disparities.If you would like to learn more about the ACLU and their Smart Justice Campaign in CT visit http://www.acluct.orgSupport the show (
Barbara Fair is a licensed clinical social worker and social justice activist with Stop Solitary Connecticut who has worked tirelessly for decades to improve prison conditions, bring awareness to the impact incarceration has on children and families, and demand accountability for state violence as it relates to police departments and correctional facilities in Connecticut. She has long called for the abolition of solitary confinement, testifying in support of and organizing on behalf of many legislative reforms.Amber and Jason caught up with Barbara a few days after a major public hearing for the PROTECT Act (Connecticut Senate Bill 1059) that calls for an end to extreme isolation and abusive restraints, promotes social bonds, ensures the shut down of Northern Correctional Institution, reforms data collection and improves oversight & accountability.  Barbara shared personal stories dating back to the ‘60s through present times. Information about Stop Solitary Connecticut and the PROTECT Act  can be found at the show, Barbara also referred to the film The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of a Supermax Prison, a production of the Yale Visual Law Project. The film depicts Connecticut’s sole supermax prison (Northern Correctional) where many inmates are held in solitary confinement for months and even years at a time.  You can watch the film at the show (
Juanita shares the story of her friend, Sincere, who was sentenced to 45 years  for an incident that happened when he was 18.  Then known as Darnell, he signed an Alford plea deal for first degree murder, arson, and use of a firearm. Sincere has grown up behind bars. Juanita continues to advocate for him. Juanita is parts of a group called The Sistas in Prison Reform  https://sistasinprisonreform.comYou can connect with Juanita on Twitter at @Sinita11_Support the show (
In this episode, Amber & Jason meet Carol, the mother of an intellectually disabled son and a passionate advocate for reform. She shares how her family was thrust into the world of courtrooms, plea bargains, ankle monitors and public registration after a situation that occurred in 2012. Their story is one of tragedy and triumph, one that shines a light on the fact that criminal prosecutions of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities often lead to disastrous consequences for individuals and their families without any benefit to the public.In the episode, Carol shares enthusiastically about  LRIDD - Legal Reform for the Intellectually & Developmentally Disabled. Listeners can learn more about their work here: http://www.LRIDD.orgThe story of Carol and her family was also featured in a recent article by Chiara Eisner, When People with Intellectual Disabilities  Are Punished, Parents Pay the PriceSupport the show (
Amber and Jason talk with Richard about his experience with Wall Street as part of the Wolf of Wall Street firm. In the conversation, Richard takes us on his journey from prison and all of the collateral consequences  to reentry up through his entrepreneurial efforts focused on others who have been incarcerated. He takes us from New York to Florida to California.  From Richard's bio on his new site Commissary Club: Richard was the founder and CEO of 70 Million Jobs and 70 Million Staffing. Before launching 70 Million Jobs, Richard served as Director of Defy Ventures, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing incarcerated men and women second chances upon release. Before that, he was a co-founder of the popular nostalgia website, His career began on Wall Street, where he managed money at Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns. He eventually went on to found Biltmore Securities, a registered broker-dealer based in South Florida. Richard grew Biltmore to nearly 500 employees and took many companies public. After Biltmore, Richard founded Channels Magazine and launched several successful consumer product and service businesses. Richard was convicted of securities fraud in 2002, arising from his activities in the 1990s and served two years in a Federal prison camp.https://www.commissary.clubhttps://www.70millionjobs.comSupport the show (
Join Amber and Jason as they launch their second season of Amplified Voices with a guest you won't want to miss: Attorney Stefanie Mundhenk. In this episode, Stefanie talks about how her life was altered by an incident at Baylor University. Her journey takes us from Texas to Washington D.C., where she was a graduate law student at Georgetown, and ultimately to Kentucky where she studied for the bar and is now a practicing attorney. Hear Stefanie explain why she believes the entire criminal legal system needs to be reformed, as she discusses Title IX and her experiences as a public defender.Stefanie can be followed on Twitter  @philawsostefHere's a link to an article that she wrote for The Appeal:I Was Sexually Assaulted. And I Believe Incarcerating Rapists Doesn’t Help Victims Like Me. - The AppealSupport the show (
In a rare peek behind the scenes,  Amplified Voices hosts, Jason and Amber round out their first season by reflecting on how the podcast has evolved - exploring how proximity and storytelling have been able to make an impact on the many people who have participated, listened and shared the show with others.  Through a candid discussion, the hosts highlight the feedback they have received,  what the project has meant to each of them and the many things they have learned from the guests who have trusted them to amplify their inspiring stories of pain, growth, triumph and humanity. They also offer a look at how guests are selected, how the show is organized and produced, and offer a preview of what to expect in season two. Support the show (
Join Jason and Amber for a different perspective, as they speak with Thomas Owen Baker, a veteran and former police officer who shares how his involvement in policing affected him, leading to his strong desire to convert his experiences into  something of social value . He candidly speaks about life as a law enforcement officer and how his perceptions changed over time. After 9 years serving on the force, he decided to enter the academic sphere, focusing his research on police culture, use of force, and qualitative research methods. Tom believes that we must all work toward a society where citizens and their governmental representatives – the police – aren’t so terrified of one another. He hopes his research and outreach can be part of positive solutions.Thomas is a PhD student in the department of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St Louis, a Pat Tillman scholar and podcaster. You can follow him on Twitter @thomasowenbakerDuring the show, Thomas mentions a project called Fatal Encounters - which describes itself as a "step toward creating an impartial, comprehensive and searchable database of people killed during interactions with the police." He also mentions:  https://www.trainingreform.orgSupport the show (
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