Host organization: The Center for Justice at Columbia University and the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
Topeka K. Sam’s Probation and Parole Accountability Project will help educate, empower, and defend the rights of people currently on probation, parole, or federal supervised release.
Sam is the founder of the Ladies of Hope Ministries, an organization whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through education, entrepreneurship, spiritual empowerment, and advocacy. She is also establishing Hope House, a re-entry housing space for women and girls. She developed the vision for this work while serving time in federal prison and established the organization after her release in 2015. Sam, who is a founding member of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (“National Council”), has spoken widely about the issues of incarceration and post-incarceration opportunities, and has, in her role as National Organizer with the National Council, organized “Real Women, Real Voices” symposia at law schools nationwide. She studied computer science at Morgan State University, and is a 2015 Beyond the Bars Fellow and a 2016 Justice in Education Scholar at Columbia University.