Name: Lauren Reed
What city and state do you live in?: Denver, CO
How and why did you get involved in the work?: I currently work for the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison as the Communication and Community Engagement Coordinator. I wanted to work in the field of higher education in prison when I realized this field actually existed. I took my first higher ed in prison class in 2010 while incarceated at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. I had no idea college was offered in prisons and I wanted more people to be impacted by education in the same way I was. We have a lot of work left to do to continue to expand the reach of prison education programs despite how far we have come over the last few years.
How did you hear about CLI? I actually heard about CLI from Missy before the first cohort even started when I was working for Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison in NY. I remember asking her how I can be a part of this program then but the cohort had been chosen already. As soon as I heard about the second cohort I applied and was incredibly elated to be chosen.
What made you want to join CLI?: I wanted to join CLI because let's face it, there is very little help for formerly incarcerated people who are seeking leadership positions, even less specifically for women by women. Programs like this run by directly impacted leaders in the higher ed in prison community are a necessity to elevate members of our community.
What has been the most valuable thing so far about being a part of CLI?: The best part about this experience is learning from impacted women throughout the country. The learning and growing from the women and facilitators has been invaluable to my work and my life in general.
What do you wish people knew about women who are incarcerated/formerly incarcerated/their families?: Women who have been to prison are just women. Women may have spent time behind the walls but there is nothing inherently different about us, we are all women, we are all human.
What is your favorite form of self-care?: I really like going into nature to reconnect with myself, made easier by moving to Colorado where the mountains are just there calling you everyday!
Who is your biggest supporter?: I think my biggest supporters are my family. They have been by my side throughout my incarceration and now after. they encouraged me to move from New York to Denver in pursuit of my career. and they are always here for me when I need them.