Five years ago, #cut50 was founded with a goal of building bipartisan support for fixing our criminal justice system and changing the national narrative about people who are impacted by it. Our small team has had a massive impact – and one reason why we have been so successful in changing hearts, minds, and laws has been our commitment to the leadership of people directly impacted by incarceration.

That's why today, we're thrilled to re-introduce you to a new leader joining our team: Michael Mendoza.

Michael is well acquainted with the power that policy can play in transforming lives and fostering hope with people behind bars. At the age of 15, he was prosecuted as an adult and sentenced to 15-years-to-life. He had a 5% chance of ever being released from incarceration. But a change in California law gave Michael the opportunity and an incentive to continue his transformation and eventually earn his freedom. 

Since returning home, Michael has played an important role in advocating for critical reforms to the justice system – first working as a case manager at the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, then as Policy Associate with #cut50, and later as Policy Director for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

Today, we are thrilled to welcome back Michael Mendoza as our National Director!

Michael will continue our work humanizing individuals impacted by the justice system, using storytelling as a key launch pad for our advocacy work, and accelerating the national momentum for legislative change from the grassroots to the grasstops.

As Michael Mendoza steps into his new role, Jessica Jackson will transition to the role of Senior Counsel and will continue to advise the #cut50 team on policy and key partnerships.

We hope you'll take the time to read more about Michael’s story and join us in giving him a warm welcome.

With love,
The #cut50 team

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