Monica Jahner served twenty-eight years in a Michigan state prison. While incarcerated, she founded Kids Need Moms, a program to promote quality visits between children and their mothers in prison. Monica earned a paralegal certificate, an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science. Upon her release from prison, she joined the staff of ARRO, a grassroots reentry program working to eliminate barriers facing people upon their release.
Monica was awarded an advocacy grant from Self Development of People Ministry (SDOP) which she used to found the Fair Chance Coalition to Ban the Box. She has worked with legislators to ensure first time drug offenders could receive food stamps, and advocated for the mentally ill in prison and for juvenile life without parole (LWOP) reform. In 2009 Monica was elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners Corrections Advisory Board. She also serves on the Prison Correction Section of the State Bar, and facilitates the faith-based Tri-County Re-Entry Coalition. After the death of her brother she took over his comic store and created a nonprofit organization to mentor high-risk youth called Creating Heroes Stephan’s Way.