Shaka Senghor is a convicted murderer, but he is much more than his prison label.  He is also an author, a mentor, a speaker, and a father among other things. His conviction, at age 19,  isn’t where his story begins, but a fraction of his journey to the man we see today.

Out of his 19 of years in jail,  seven of those years were spent in solitary confinement.  In his Ted Talk: Why Your  Worst Deeds Don’t Define You, he states that “solitary confinement is one of the most inhumane and barbaric places you can find yourself.”

While in solitary confinement he was subjected to abhorrent conditions such as only three showers a week, one hour of recreation, and surrounded by a staggering amount of mental illness. His saving grace was literature and writing which lead to the creation of his newest  book.

A sign rests on a sandstone carving on the Great Western Staircase before a rally against solitary confinement Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. More than 200 advocates and several legislators are calling for restricting solitary confinement for state inmates, citing a United Nations expert’s conclusion that more than 15 days damages people mentally. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A sign rests on a sandstone carving on the Great Western Staircase before a rally against solitary confinement Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. More than 200 advocates and several legislators are calling for restricting solitary confinement for state inmates, citing a United Nations expert’s conclusion that more than 15 days damages people mentally. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison is a  memoir of Senghor’s time before and during prison. It recounts his childhood abuse and growing up in a volatile community through his enlightenment to be more than a statistic. The book is a reflection of a man who is more than a label. He is more than his transgression. He is redeemable.  He is human.

Shaka Senghor answering an audience question about his life in prison at his  book reading hosted by the Georgia Center for the Book at First Baptist Church in Decatur, GA on March 11, 2016. (Photo/Alicia Buster)
Shaka Senghor answering an audience question about his life in prison at his book reading hosted by the Georgia Center for the Book at First Baptist Church in Decatur, GA on March 11, 2016. (Photo/Alicia Buster)
Senghor, autographing his book, along side his 2 year old son, Sekou, at a talk hosted by The Georgia Center for the Book on March 11, 2016 at First Baptist Church in Decatur, GA. (Photo Alicia Buster)
Senghor, autographing his book, along side his 2 year old son, Sekou, at a talk hosted by The Georgia Center for the Book on March 11, 2016 at First Baptist Church in Decatur, GA. (Photo Alicia Buster)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senghor is an advocate for prison reform and a voice of Cut50, an initiative to cut the prison population in half by 2025. He is also the co-founder of Beyond Prisons. According to Ebony Roberts, prison reform advocate, Beyond Prisons’ goal is to, “humanize this problem of mass incarceration so that people are seeing faces. They’re seeing real people and not just a prison number or not just statistics and data, but that they actually do see the real stories of people that are impacted by the prison industrial complex.”

A prisoner walks past a message painted on the wall of the state prison Thursday, March 3, 2011 in Jackson, Ga. Conservative legislators who once heralded strict three-strikes laws and other tough measures that led to bloated prisons are now considering what was once deemed unthinkable: Reducing sentences for some drug and non-violent offenders. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A prisoner walks past a message painted on the wall of the state prison Thursday, March 3, 2011 in Jackson, Ga. Conservative legislators who once heralded strict three-strikes laws and other tough measures that led to bloated prisons are now considering what was once deemed unthinkable: Reducing sentences for some drug and non-violent offenders. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

 

 

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