Jay Jordan

There is a system of laws that’s a web of disenfranchisement that no one really knows exists. Nine out of ten of the 70-80 million people with some sort of arrest or conviction on their record are already out. They’re not committing crime. They have families. At some moment in time— we have to say, ‘Ok, enough is enough. Let this person go and life their life.’ I am not the exception here; I am the rule.

-Jay Jordan, episode 328 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Today, CEO and activist Jay Jordan tells his story. We begin in Stockton, California (13:31), where he came of age on the heels of the 1994 Clinton Crime Bill (16:33) before being arrested at eighteen (19:47). In stark contrast to former President Trump’s arraignment (3:17), Jordan then details his experiences navigating the judicial system (24:15), his years in prison (28:30), and stints in solitary confinement (31:55).

On the back-half, Jordan reflects on the end of his seven-year sentence (38:28), the limitations of living with a criminal record (47:22), and how he found purpose in advocating for people like himself (54:52). To close, he shares his groundbreaking work with Alliance for Safety and Justice (1:07:46), including a new, transformative California law (1:13:04), and a philosophy by Maya Angelou that guides him today (1:18:24).

Original illustration by Krishna ShenoiReference image by Jim Wilson.

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