Lashonia Thompson-El is a 42 year old Washingtonian who was born and raised in South East D.C. As a youth she made a series of bad decisions that landed her in prison for a violent crime and where she spent half of her life. During her 18 ½ years in prison, Lashonia set out to rehabilitate herself and atone for her past mistakes to the best of her ability. She received her GED, began to pursue a college degree, and she helped develop and facilitate many classes for other incarcerated women.
In December 2011 Lashonia was released on parole. In 2013 she was hired as the Female Reentry Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens Affairs. As an advocate for gender responsive reentry strategies and criminal justice reform in the District of Columbia, Lashonia has had the opportunity to speak publicly about the impact of mass incarceration on women and children. She speaks candidly about the consequences of youth violence and the challenges women face during the reintegration process as well as the importance of family reunification.
In June 2013 Lashonia launched a not-for-profit organization known as The W.I.R.E. (Women Involved in Reentry Efforts). The W.I.R.E. is a network of previously incarcerated women who have joined together to provide social support to women currently incarcerated and women returning from incarceration and their children. In May of 2016 Lashonia completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity Washington University. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Science Administration with a concentration in Organizational Management. Lashoniais a member of the National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.