Sam Lewis is the Executive Director of the Anti Recidivism Coalition (ARC). Previously, Sam served as the Director of Inside Programs. A former life prisoner himself, Sam understands the various obstacles, challenges, and difficulties the prison and reentry populations face. In 2017, Sam created the Hope And Redemption Team (HART), a first-of-its kind initiative he built from scratch. The Hope & Redemption Team (HART) is a group of nine former California life prisoners who go back into California state prisons to provide hope, demonstrate that redemption is achievable, and to prepare participants for successful reentry into our communities. His work directing the Hope and Redemption Team exemplifies what’s best about ARC: our desire to reach and walk with those who have been most marginalized by society.
Most Saturday nights, Sam leads the Hope and Redemption mentors who support youth currently housed at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall. These youth are facing potentilly long prison sentences. The unique mentors are trained in Transformative Mentoring and use a peer-to-peer Credible Messenger model to encourge incarcerated youth to believe in themselves and pursure their education while incarcerated.
Sam previously worked with Friends Outside Los Angeles County (FOLA) as Job Specialist, Case Manager, Employment Programs Supervisor, and Project Director, roles that reinforced his commitment to creating opportunities for formerly incarcerated men and women as they transition back into society. In 2018, Sam was the recipient of a Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award and an Uncommon Law Uncommon Heroes award.
Sam began transforming himself while in prison through various rehabilitative programs including the Alternatives to Violence (AVP) program, Victims Offender’s Education Group (VOEG), and higher education. Sam earned a Certification as an AVP Team Coordinator/Facilitator where he assisted in creating three Inmate Activity Groups with a intensive focus on rehabilitation and release.
He went on to receive an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies that allowed him to assist others with Habeas Corpus Writs and Administrative Appeals. Despite the many obstacles of incarceration and being denied parole eight times, Sam never gave up. He also earned a specialized Associate Degree in Business Management.
Since being granted parole in 2012, Sam completed his BSBA degree from Indiana Institute of Technology graduating Magna Cum Laude. He completed the majority of this degree while incarcerated. Sam has served on the State Steering Committee for AVP for two years. Sam also served on the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Executive Steering Committee for California Violence, Intervention, and Prevention (CVIP). Sam currently serves on the Los Angeles Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Comission on Employment Equity. His passion as an advocate pushes him to continuously seek improvement for himself as he strongly encourages others to live non-violent lives.