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TEDxDirigo: RISE State Theatre, Portland, Maine

How I Went From Federal Prison to Capitol Hill

  • 2015
  • Law/Human Rights

When Christopher Poulos is wearing a suit, as he often is these days, you’d hardly have any inkling of his past except for the occasional reveal of a tattoo on the back of his neck. Chris’s story of recovery and perseverance is inspiring not just on a personal level but also because of the impact he is having on criminal justice reform efforts, both locally in Maine and nationally.

Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Chris spent the 2015 summer in Washington, DC, as the Legal Fellow at The Sentencing Project. Chris also chairs the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program Subcommittee for Portland Mayor Michael Brennan’s Substance Abuse Task Force, and serves as President of the American Constitution Society at the University of Maine School of Law, where he is completing his final year. Prior to law school, Chris overcame many obstacles, including tragic family losses, addiction, homelessness, and a federal incarceration. He now dedicates his life to helping others overcome or avoid similar challenges and supports a public healing-based approach to addiction. His work promotes equal access to the law and seeks to end mass incarceration and the collateral consequences now facing tens of millions of people with criminal convictions.