Founder, Equal Justice Initiative
REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS
Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and lawyer who is the founder and executive director of Freedom Reads, a not-for-profit organization that gives access to literature in prisons through the installation of Freedom Libraries across the country. In 2019 Betts won the National Magazine Award in the Essays and Criticism category for his NY Times Magazine essay that chronicles his journey from prison to becoming a licensed attorney. For over 20 years he has used his poetry and essays to explore the world of prisons and the effects of violence and incarceration on American Society. He has transformed his latest collection of poetry, Felon: Poems into a solo theater show that explores the post incarceration experience and lingering consequences of a criminal record through poetry, stories, and engaging with the timeless and transcendental art of paper-making.