Benny Lee spent the late 60s through early 80s as a gang leader of the Conservative Vice Lord Nation, eventually spending three years on death row. He is now a community liaison and reentry specialist for TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities), preparing individuals to make successful transitions from incarceration into the community. He also works with communities to help them build their capacity to effectively receive individuals returning home following incarceration. He is a nonviolence trainer for the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago.
He is sought-after as an international trainer and consultant, having presented throughout the United States, Israel, and Africa. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Professional of the Year award from the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA), a Project Safe Neighborhoods award from U.S. Department of Justice, and a National America Honors Recovery award from the Johnson Institute for his work in providing innovative services to gang affiliated individuals in the criminal justice system.
Lee received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree at Northeastern Illinois University, where he’s now an adjunct professor in the Justice Studies department. He’s currently the founder and CEO of the National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated (NAEFI).