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Keeda Haynes


Keeda is the Federal Policy Analyst at the National Council of Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She is also the Senior Legal Advisor at Free Hearts, a non-profit organization led by women that have been formerly incarcerated. As an Assistant Public Defender in Nashville, TN, for six and a half years, she devoted all of her determination, energy, and passion into fighting for her clients, in the courtroom and in the community.

In 2002, Keeda was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for a crime she didn’t commit. The United States Supreme Court remanded her case and eventually she was resentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of five years. After her release, Keeda enrolled into law school at the Nashville School of Law and became a practicing attorney.

Keeda has served her community on the Juvenile Justice Realignment Task Force, receiving several awards. She continues to educate and advocate on behalf of the community, focusing on criminal justice reform, incarcerated women’s rights, voter restoration, and various other issues. In 2020, Keeda ran for Congress for the 5th district in Tennessee, receiving 40% of the vote against an entrenched incumbent. Additionally, Ms. Haynes has written a memoir entitled Bending the Arc: My Journey from Prison to Politics.