Group of formerly incarcerated now giving back to their
communities following model of restorative justice
A group of formerly incarcerated guys has been doing a lot of good, participating with others to give back to the communities where they once committed crimes. Richard Johnson and Jewels Harrison have teamed up with dozens of other formerly incarcerated individuals to create an organization called Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back.
In the Oakland Post, Johnson charged family and friends to join him and the organization to help to take back the communities from crime.
“To put an end to the violence and illegal guns that has gripped our communities with fear,” said Johnson.
Johnson spent 20-plus years incarcerated and many years at San Quentin State Prison with Harrison and other like-minded individuals who stood determined to get out into the community to give back and make a difference.
He did multiple years in Pelican Bay Segregated Housing Unit. While there he and other guys of all races formed a coalition to end cruel and unusual punishment in solitary confinement for the incarcerated. They went on a hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment they were receiving.
Harrison used his knowledge of the law while he was locked up to help others and himself to fight their cases so they too could be released one day.
“To help others has always been something that I loved to do,” said Harrison. “So, to be able to still do it while I am a free man is cool. I’m happy to be a part of this movement of giving back.”
Since coming down to general population from the SHU, Johnson and Harrison were released at the height of the COVID era. The two hit the ground running towards the fight against crime in an effort to help end the violence that they were all too familiar with once upon a time in their old lifestyle.
The Post has Johnson as one of its writers where he uses that platform to sound the alarm. His determination to further his cause has led him to prominent people and in community places where he networks to formulate with others to join the mission.
One aim is to create jobs for the incarcerated once they are released from prison. So far, Johnson has been funding the organization with his own earnings with very little help from donors. At a community gathering at Defirmary Park in West Oakland, He and the other members of the organization were networking with other prominent members of the community.
“Jonathan Jones and I were busy networking and setting up future meetings with Loren Taylor, Treva Reid, Iggnacio de la Fuente, Oakland’s slain drug kingpin the late Felix Mitchell’s widow and living legend Daryl “Lil D” Reed, Sheng Thao, Rob and Mia Bonta, Oakland rapper Mistah Fab and newly elected Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price to name a few,” reported the Post article.