Theresa Sweeney


Theresa Sweeney is fully committed to uniting with others to combat mass incarceration, which she believes is the most important human rights issue facing our country today. Her interest in the criminal justice system began thirty-five years ago when she was studying what was then a fairly new discipline – Criminology and Criminal Justice. In 2010, she received her Master’s Degree in that field from Portland State University.

When Theresa was sentenced to prison in 2003, she witnessed firsthand the arbitrary and cruel nature of the mass incarceration system. After her release, she was driven by her passion to assist others who shared a similar experience. She was a leader in Oregon’s Ban the Box movement, testified before the state legislature, and made media appearances urging its adoption.

Theresa has a vibrant communication style, which she utilizes as Outreach Coordinator for the Hands Across the Bridge Project whose mission is to provide leadership development for the recovering and reentering communities. She currently works as a Volunteer Coordinator for Volunteers of America.