Monica Jahner is a relentless advocate for people with a criminal offense. She is innovative, resourceful, and effective. In 2018, Monica was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Pre Trial and Jail. In 2017, she won the Noam Chomsky Award for her work. She has also served on the Prison Correction Section of the State Bar, and was a graduate of the first Justleadership (JLUSA) Emerging Leaders cohort in 2015.
Her advocacy began while she was incarcerated for 28 years. She founded Kids Need Moms which promotes quality visits between children and their mothers in prison. Monica also represented the female prisoners in three class-action suits. Upon release, she joined ARRO, a grassroots one-stop-shop reentry program working to eliminate barriers of reentry. She was later awarded an advocacy grant that funded Ban the Box legislation. Monica created a diversion program that provides alternatives to prison and jail and focuses on treating trauma.
Monica currently facilitates the Swift and Sure Sanction Probation Program (SSSPP) and Mental Health Court. Her unique collaboration with Michigan State University’s Human Resources Master’s program provides employment training and services. She sits on the Ingham County Community Corrections Advisory Board, and serves as a board member for Safe and Just Michigan, Nation Outside, and Citizens for Prison Reform. Monica also operates a nonprofit organization called Creating Heroes Stephen’s Way whose primary goal is to promote mentoring, literacy, and personal growth for challenged and troubled youth, young adults and adults.