Marlon Peterson

Marlon Peterson

Marlon Peterson
Senior Atlantic Fellow
Racial Equity

Marlon is the host of the Decarcerated Podcast and Senior Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity. He is also the founder and chief re-imaginator of The Precedential Group, a social justice consulting firm, and a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship. Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 most influential and inspiring leaders in the Black community. He is also an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, and Fall 2016 and Spring 2019 TED Resident. His TED Talk, “Am I not human? a call for criminal justice reform,” has over 1 million views.

Marlon spent his entire 20’s inside of New York State prisons for his involvement in a crime as a teenager. During that time he earned an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice with Honors. He spent the last five years of his incarceration as the head of the Transitional Services Center where he created programming and curricula for men nearing release from incarceration. He also spearheaded and designed an experiential workshop for incarcerated men and college students from Vassar College called, “Vassar & Otisville–Two Communities Bridging the Gap.”

During his incarceration he collaborated with friend, author, and founding principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Dr. Nadia Lopez, to create a letter correspondence mentorship program with middle school students. This program set the foundation for the creation of H.O.L.L.A. (How Our Lives Link Altogether) based in Brooklyn, NY.

Since his release in prison in December 2009, Marlon has held several nonprofit positions. He is the former Director of Community Relations at The Fortune Society, and previously served as the Associate Director of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, founding coordinator of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets. Marlon serves as a board member of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, and advisory board member to the Center for Court Innovation.

Marlon’s writings have appeared in Ebony, Gawker, The Nation, USA Today, NewsOne, The Crime Report, Black Press USA, Huff Post, The Root, Colorlines, and other online publications. He has contributed to Kiese Laymon’s award winning novel, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Love Lives Here, Too by former New York Times columnist, Sheila Rule, and the anthology by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin, How to Fight White Supremacy.

Marlon graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science with a concentration on Organizational Behavior. He has lectured and conducted workshops in prisons in the Caribbean and South Africa. Marlon lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is working on his first novel when he isn’t playing steelpan.