Theresa Sweeney


Ever since her release from prison in 2004, Theresa has been fully committed to uniting with others to end mass incarceration, which she believes is the most important human rights issue in the United States. She is a nationally recognized leader in the Criminal Justice Reform Movement. Her expertise has been gained through direct experience, education (Criminology and Criminal Justice, BS 2005, MS 2010) employment, research, writing, grassroots community organizing, public speaking and actively participating in policy reform.

Theresa’s advocacy and community organizing towards reducing incarceration in her home state of Oregon, earned her the opportunity to be chosen as a 2016 JLUSA Fellow. After participating  in the year-long leadership training, she was motivated to expand her collaboration with other  formerly incarcerated people working towards dismantling the current system of injustice and  relocated to New York City. There she was a leader in the successful #CLOSERikers Campaign.

Theresa is an experienced facilitator and Leadership Practices Inventory coach. She was one of the 20 Top National Mental Health First Aid Trainers for The National Council of Behavioral Health  for both 2018 and 2019. She has recently returned to her hometown of Portland, Oregon to be  closer to her family. She is excited to continue her work in the movement by shifting her focus  and commitment to leadership development and has opened her own training and coaching business.