WATCH: Marlon Peterson Breaks Down Why America Must Invest in the Formerly Incarcerated

By Kenrya Rankin May 31, 2017

At the age of 19, Marlon Peterson was arrested for his role in a deadly robbery. After serving a decade behind bars, he was released to a world that he says largely does not value the lives or contributions of the formerly incarcerated. In his TED Talk, which was posted online today (May 31), he discusses how that experienced shaped him—and why if the criminal justice system is to ever be fixed, it must come with an investment in the people who flow through it.

“When we invest in resources that amplify the relevancy of people in communities like … parts of Brooklyn or a ghetto near you, we can literally create the communities that we want,” Peterson says in “Am I Not Human? A Call for Criminal Justice Reform,” which was filmed in December 2016. “We can do better than investing solely in law enforcement as a resource, because they don’t give us the sense relevancy that is at the core of why so many of us do so many harmful things in the pursuit of mattering.”

Peterson is the founder of social justice consulting firm The Precedential Group, and the host of the “Decarcerated” podcast, which tells the stories of the formerly incarcerated. Watch his TED Talk above.