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Marcus Kelley


Marcus Kelley is the Founder of The Change Up and a victim of wrongful conviction. While incarcerated, he successfully organized and led a prison hunger strike, which included the Aryan Brotherhood, Nation of Islam, Christians, and gang affiliates in protest against a plethora of human rights violations in the Michigan Department of Corrections that led to Aramark’s contract being terminated for serving spoiled food with maggots. He also fought and was successful for education and job training, and later filed a successful Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint against the MDOC.

After spending multiple stretches in solitary confinement as a result of standing for human rights, Marcus was diagnosed with PTSD and, once freed after nine long years, he had a hard time adjusting to society. He learned that he suffered from Post Incarceration Syndrome as a result of his prison experience.

As a returning citizen, Marcus experienced the systems of legal discrimination as a result of having the words “criminal record” attached to his name, which was created solely for the purpose of the disenfranchisement of Black people—a system that was designed with the use of the exception clause to the 13th amendment and state constitutions.

As an expert on these issues, by way of experience, as well as data he’d collected from returning citizens actively participating in his program, The Change Up, Marcus believes that a meaningful and successful reentry program is one that implements mental health education with a particular focus on Post Incarceration Syndrome and civics education.