Amplified Voices

Amber & Jason - Criminal Legal Reform Advocates with Lived Experience

Amplified Voices is a podcast that lifts the voices of people and families impacted by the criminal legal system. Hosts Jason and Amber speak with real people in real communities to help them step into the power of their lived experience. Together, they explore shared humanity and real solutions for positive change.

Getting to Know Us - Introduction Episode 1
TrailerE 7 min 2 sec

All Episodes

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Dec 5

48 min 46 sec

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: https://onceincarcerated.org/ACLU CT article  featuring Tracie: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/everyone-will-be-better-if-connecticut-ends-solitary-confinementSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Nov 5

53 min 3 sec

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 (https://all4consolaws.org), 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 thanksfortheinfamy@gmail.com, go to https://payhip.com/b/aT86b or send a direct message on Twitter to Marty  @mwmtalent.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Oct 4

41 min 57 sec

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Sep 13

46 min 9 sec

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 https://www.morgangodvin.com/A listing of her published writings can be found at: https://www.morgangodvin.com/portfolioWatch Morgan's appearance on CNN here: https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2020/11/14/from-addiction-to-advocacy-for-drug-decriminalization.cnnSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Aug 11

50 min 10 sec

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: https://www.cga.ct.gov/Read "A Necessary Tool" CT ViewPoints , CT Mirror by Barbara Fair: https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/a-necessary-tool/Our previous episode with Barbara: https://amplifiedvoices.buzzsprout.com/1213727/8257890-barbara-fair-stop-solitary-ct-season-2-episode-5Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Jul 12

41 min 18 sec

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Jun 22

53 min 46 sec

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

May 15

50 min 36 sec

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 https://www.stopsolitaryct.org/.During 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 https://vimeo.com/user7522770/httpvimeocomworstoftheworst.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Apr 2

1 hr 1 min

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Mar 13

57 min 27 sec

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Feb 24

56 min 54 sec

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, DoYouRemember.com. 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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Feb 7

1 hr 5 min

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Jan 24

1 hr 4 min

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Dec 2020

35 min 25 sec

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 (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Nov 2020

59 min 43 sec

Deb Martinez's brother is currently incarcerated in Connecticut. In this episode, Deb shares her experience as an advocate for her brother as well as for other incarcerated individuals and their families. She also talks about when she was the victim of a sexual assault as a teenager, an occurrence that completely changed the trajectory of her life. Like most stories, Deb's is multi-dimensional and one you won't want to miss. Deb can be found on twitter as @victim2advocate, on Facebook or by email at victimtoadvocate@gmail.com. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Nov 2020

58 min 13 sec

In this episode of Amplified Voices, Jason and Amber speak with Tiheba Bain, a mother, student, activist and advocate for formerly incarcerated women and girls. Tiheba shares her experiences: being raised by her grandmother in Brooklyn,  a difficult struggle with addiction, her time behind the walls and the long journey to find her way.Tiheba is the founder of Women Against Mass Incarceration, a nonprofit organization, located in Bridgeport, CT that exists to  empower, change and re-shape the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and families. They are  a partner organization of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls.  You can find them at http://www.wamict.org.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Oct 2020

40 min 56 sec

In this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber and Jason speak with Nancy - a business owner, wife, mother, student and advocate from Iowa. Nancy authentically shares how her family was affected by addiction, incarceration, special probation conditions, mandated treatment, public registration and more. Her story particularly highlights how broad and often inflexible probation restrictions can deeply affect the lives and mental health of all members of the family. Her journey and aspirations to become a mental health treatment provider illustrate the resilience of families who have been affected by the criminal legal system.*Trigger warning* This episode includes references to suicidal ideation. Those who have struggled with similar challenges should listen with a support person, listen in chunks or turn the podcast off if needed. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Oct 2020

58 min 52 sec

In this episode of Amplified Voices, Jason and Amber speak with Tricia, mother of four and wife of a man who was convicted of a white collar crime and subsequently incarcerated. Tricia bravely shares her experiences, including how she and her children were affected through the process, the shock of the arrest, coping with co-parenting while a parent is incarcerated and public responses to the idea of white collar crime. She speaks of finding humanity in the most unexpected places and highlights how every family is unique.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

Oct 2020

47 min 56 sec

In this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber and Jason speak with Andrew,  a pastor from Connecticut who has been impacted by the criminal legal system, both as a family member and as the victim of a crime. Andrew speaks about how the crime and the system has affected his family, congregation, community and more. He shares valuable insights and coping strategies for those who have an incarcerated family member during the age of COVID19, as well as for those who are living with the challenges of a criminal record in a world turned upside-down after incarceration. Finally he speaks about spirituality and the responsibility of individuals of faith to define justice as equality and love, seeking a path to redemption and reconciliation for everyone.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Sep 2020

50 min 3 sec

Daryl is well-known in criminal justice reform circles in Connecticut. Come hear his story of how he turned his life around and gave back to the community through reentry and addiction recovery services. On the evening we're posting this episode, he's being inducted into Connecticut's First Hall of Change. He is founder of Formerly Inc. Daryl, holds state certifications as an Addictions Counselor, Recovery Support Specialist, and a Criminal Justice Professional. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership, both from Springfield College. Prior to entering the human service field, Mr. McGraw held several leadership positions in the hospitality field working for Fortune 500 companiesHere's a link to Formerly Inc  https://formerlyinc.org/Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Sep 2020

56 min 5 sec

Tammy shares her journey from being a young mother to serving in the military and being the victim of military sexual trauma.  After becoming a teacher, committing an offense and being impacted by the criminal legal system, she learns to cope with the collateral consequences of a conviction. Her message is one of growth, change and hope as she outlines how she has become an advocate for change. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Sep 2020

45 min 6 sec

Join Amber and Jason as they have a candid conversation with Adnan Kahn, a man who describes himself as "going from an 8 year-old little league baseball player, to an 18 year-old with a life sentence." During the conversation, Adnan shares his childhood experiences and the factors that lead to his involvement in the criminal legal system. Adnan shares how California's felony murder rule impacted not just his life, but that of thousands of people in the state. His story is one of trauma, accountability, determination, hard work, and hope.Adnan currently serves as the Executive Director of Re:Store Justice, an organization that was founded in 2017 inside San Quentin State Prison by Adnan Khan, Alexandra Mallick and Sara Sindija. The organization was created to re-imagine our justice system. For more information about the Canteen Support Project that Adnan mentions during the show visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/823371021475580/aboutSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Sep 2020

58 min 34 sec

Andre is a pastor, former attorney, and advocate. In this episode, Amber and Jason talk with Andre about his involvement in the criminal legal system, how he has healed, and the negative impacts that he and his family have experienced as a result for decades. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Aug 2020

46 min 12 sec

Hear David's meaningful story of forgiveness, rehabilitation, spirituality and redemption. In this candid conversation, David talks with Amber and Jason about his difficult childhood where he endured physical, mental, and sexual abuse prior to taking the life of his abuser. After spending years in prison, remarkable events grounded in accountability, acceptance and opportunity, helped David evolve into the strong voice for change that he is today! David can be found in twitter @DavidLeeGarlockSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Aug 2020

1 hr 3 min

Jason speaks with Kristen, a mother, wife and outspoken advocate from Michigan. Kristen bravely shares her family’s story of harm, both within her family and as a result of the criminal legal process that denied them the healing that they earnestly sought. Themes explored include interfamilial sexual abuse, generational trauma, family separation, incarceration, restorative justice, aspirations for reconciliation, primary prevention and more. Resources discussed include the Safer Society Press, Stop It Now, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and Therapy with Harming Father's, Victimized Children and Their Mothers After Parental Child Sexual Assault. For  more information on efforts to revise Michigan’s public registration scheme, visit https://www.aclumich.org/en/SORA. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Aug 2020

55 min 8 sec

In this episode of the Amplified Voices Podcast, Amber & Jason speak with special guest, Iran Nazario, about his turbulent childhood, experience in the foster care system, periods of homelessness and his subsequent immersion in the violent street culture of gang membership. He discusses his involvement in the criminal legal system from the age of fifteen through his twenties. Iran also shares the inspirational story of how a chance encounter set him on a journey to repurpose himself to be a force for change, helping youth to avoid his childhood path. In 2016, he founded the Peace Center of Connecticut where he serves as President/CEO. More information about the Peace Center can be found at http://www.peacecenterofct.orgSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Aug 2020

59 min

In the first full episode of the Amplified Voices Podcast, Amber and Jason talk with Jean, the mother of a child sexual abuse survivor who talks about her experiences dealing with both the harm her family experienced due to the abuse, as well as their experiences with the criminal legal system. Jean shares her thoughts on how her family was affected, her search for answers, what they thought justice should look like, her spirituality, and their journey to advocacy and healing. During the episode, Jean discusses her involvement with ACSOL, the Association for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws. Information on this organization can be found at https://all4consolaws.orgSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Aug 2020

38 min 3 sec

In this 2nd intro, Amber & Jason reflect on upcoming conversations, dig deeper into the types of topics that will be explored, reference their own experiences and reiterate the goal of the podcast: uplifting and empowering individuals and families who have been affected by the criminal legal system to move towards a better world where all people are able to thrive.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Jul 2020

10 min 19 sec

In this quick introduction episode, Amplified Voices Hosts, Amber and Jason talk about the origins of the podcast, its guiding concepts and what they hope to accomplish through their conversations with real people in real communities who have been affected by the criminal legal system.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/amplifiedvoices)

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Jul 2020

7 min 2 sec