Glenn E. Martin

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Glenn E. Martin
Glenn E. Martin

October 30, 1970
EducationCanisius College
OccupationFounder of JustLeadershipUSA
Known forCriminal Justice Reform Advocacy

Glenn E. Martin (born October 30, 1970) is the President and Founder of, a social justice consultancy firm that partners with non-profits from across the United States to assist with fundraising, organizational development and marketing. Glenn is a longstanding American criminal justice reform advocate and is the founder and former president of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA). He also founded the campaign, #CLOSErikers[1] and co-founded the Education from the Inside Out Coalition, a national campaign working to remove barriers to higher education facing students while they are in prison and once they are released.[2]

Martin regularly comments on criminal justice in the media, including CNN, CSPAN, Al Jazeera, and MSNBC.[3][4][5][6]

Early life and family[edit]

Martin was born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of a retired police officer.

New York prison[edit]

Martin spent six years incarcerated in New York prisons. In 1994, at the age of 24, Martin was convicted for an armed robbery of a New York City jewelry store and was sentenced to six years in prison.[7] He was detained on Rikers Island for a year and served five additional years in the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica, New York for his role in several armed robberies.[8]


While in prison, Martin took college level courses.[9] Martin views his liberal arts education as a key turning point in his life.[9] While at the Wyoming Correctional Facility, Martin earned an associate degree in social science from the Jesuit Canisius College based in Buffalo, N.Y.[10] Martin faced barriers to employment with a criminal record even though he had a college degree.[11]


In 2000, Martin was released from prison in upstate Attica, New York.[12] At release, a correctional officer thanked him: "He said my being there helped pay for his boat, and that when my son came there, he would help pay for his son's boat."[12]

United States criminal justice reform[edit]

Martin has worked with and founded various criminal justice reform non-profits. Martin also regularly comments on criminal justice issues. Martin has been critical of the disenfranchisement of felons in New York state,[13] and in the United States.[14] In 2014, Martin gave a guest lecture at Bennington College on criminal justice reform.[15][16]

Legal Action Center[edit]

Upon release from prison, Martin began his career with the Legal Action Center (LAC). Martin eventually served as the co-director of LAC's Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment (H.I.R.E.) Network.[9] Martin worked to address the obstacles facing ex-offenders who try to reconnect with their communities and society at large.[17] Martin discussed what he viewed as discrimination faced by people with criminal records, based on their criminal records and their race, noting that people of color are disproportionately represented in the American criminal justice system.[11] Martin regularly spoke with media regarding criminal justice issues.[18]

Fortune Society[edit]

From 2007 until 2014, Martin served as Vice President of Development and Public Affairs for the Fortune Society, a group dedicated to helping people returning from prison to succeed with starting new lives.[19] Half of Fortune Society’s staff members were formerly incarcerated, and one-third of the board members were formerly incarcerated.[20]

Martin regularly spoke with the national media about criminal justice issues.[21][22]


In November 2014, Martin founded a new organization, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA). JLUSA aims to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030 through advocacy campaigns, leadership trainings, and member engagement.[23] Martin told Mic that he "believes the most compelling advocates of change are those who have been directly affected by incarceration."[24] Martin appeared on the Brian Lehrer show to discuss the purpose of prison.[25] JLUSA hosts training for formerly incarcerated leaders wanting to have a voice in the national debate over criminal justice and prison reform. On February 3, 2018, an article in the New York Times revealed that Martin’s departure from JLUSA came after he was accused of sexual misconduct by at least three women of color.[26]


In April 2018, Martin founded a new organization, GEMtrainers, LLC. GEMtrainers offers discreet, transformational and business-practical coaching for non-profit business leaders seeking to accelerate their performance and that of their organizations. They assist clients with strengthening their personal and organization positioning, brand story, visual identity, & messaging. GEMtrainers, LLC helps clients to build new, effective brands for their advocacy campaigns, help tear down existing ineffective strategies and neutralize opponents who work to harm movements, by ruthlessly focusing on executing compelling co-created strategies that leave nothing to chance.

White House experience[edit]

In early June 2015, Martin, along with other criminal justice reform activists, were invited to the White House to discuss mass incarceration and law enforcement issues.[27] Martin was flagged by the United States Secret Service as a security risk because of his criminal record, and required to have a special escort in order to enter the White House complex for the discussion.[28] Once cleared, Martin used the incident "to frame the topic for larger criminal justice reform."[28] Ultimately, Martin met with President Obama to discuss JustLeadershipUSA and his efforts to help shrink the criminal justice footprint in the lives of all Americans.



  • Never Be Caged "Closest to the Solution" Award (2019)
  • Working Families (2017)
  • Brooke Astor Award (2017)[29]
  • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (2016)[30]
  • VOCAL 2016 Gala Honoree (2016)[31]
  • The Root 100 (2015)[32][33]
  • Legal Action Center's Arthur L. Liman Public Interest Award (2015)[34]
  • Crisis to Triumph Award, SUNY Empire State College (2015)
  • Kentucky Colonel, Highest Honor bestowed by KY Governor Steve Beshear (2014)
  • Youth Represent (2013)[35]
  • Hudson Link for College in Prison Brian Fischer Award (2010)
  • United States Probation Office of Southern Ohio Achievement Award (2010)
  • Exodus Transitional Community: Lonny McLeod Award (2009)
  • United States Probation Outstanding Commitment Award (2009)
  • Project Build Organization Community Reintegration Programs Award (2009)
  • The Laurie L. Scott Visionary Award (2008)
  • Kings County District Attorney Citation of Honor (2008)
  • National Offender Workforce Development Annual Policy Advocacy Award Winner (2007)
  • Citizens Against Recidivism Thurgood Marshall Advocacy Award (2007)


  1. ^ "#CLOSErikers - New York City Campaign to Close Rikers Island". Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Josh. "Obama's Plan to Restore Pell Grants for Prisoners Gets Mixed Reviews". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "Changing Course on Drug Sentencing". MSNBC. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  4. ^ "DC's newest odd couple addresses incarceration crisis". MSNBC. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  5. ^ "Will bipartisanship lead to prison reform?". MSNBC. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  6. ^ "Pilot program helps students in prison pay for college". MSNBC. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Yoder, Steven. "Prisoner's Dilemma". Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  8. ^ Bader, Eleanor. "Formerly Incarcerated Activist Leads Organization to Mobilize Hearts and Minds for Decarceration". TruthOut. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Woyton, Michael. "Education transforms lives". Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  10. ^ Gray, Katti. "From Prison to Policymaking". Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Martin, Michael. "Study: Ex-Cons Face Race Barriers in Job Search". National Public Radio. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Stier, Ken. "Another By-Product of the Recession: Ex-Convicts". Time Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  13. ^ Evelly, Jeanmarie. "NY Prisoners Counted Differently, But Still Not Voting". City Limits. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  14. ^ "How Felon Disenfranchisement Confines Democracy". HuffPost Live. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  15. ^ Carson, Derek. "Glenn Martin: Justice system is broken". Bennington Banner. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  16. ^ "Keynote Address: Glenn Martin". Vimeo. Bennington Lectures. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  17. ^ Heinlein, Sabine. "From The Inside Out". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  18. ^ "The Prying Game". New York Post. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  19. ^ Rosenberg, Tina. "For Ex-Prisoners, a Haven Away From the Streets". New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  20. ^ Devaney, Tim (July 4, 2011). "Feds recommend ex-cons for hard-to-fill jobs". Washington Times. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  21. ^ Chen, Michelle. "Keeping Former Prisoners Out of Prison". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  22. ^ Dyer, Herbert. "Locking up black men makes us safer, says NYC GOP mayoral candidate". allvoices. Retrieved August 2, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "About Us". JLUSA. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  24. ^ Moore, Darnell. "11 People Who Used to Be in Jail — But Are Now Changing the World". Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  25. ^ "What is Prison For? Piper Kerman and Glenn Martin". Brian Lehrer Show. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  26. ^ Stewart, Nikita. ""A Report of Sexual Misconduct, a $25,000 Payment and an Activist's Abrupt Exit"". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  27. ^ Surico, John. "What It's Like to Visit the White House as an Ex-Con". Vice. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  28. ^ a b Kates, Graham. "Glenn Martin's "prison-like" White House experience". Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  29. ^ "NYPL Hosted 2017 Annual Spring Dinner Honoring Individuals Who Lives Exemplify Dedication to Lifelong Learning". Enspire Magazine. May 31, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  30. ^ "| Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights". Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  31. ^ "VOCAL-NY Annual Gala". VOCAL. April 23, 2015. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 11, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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