At the age of 21, Montrell was sentenced to 262 months in federal prison. During their 20-year incarceration, Montrell was the co-chair of their Toastmaster chapter and was active in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Eight days post-release, Montrell began working at Operation Restoration (OR) in Louisiana. In the two years since their release, Montrell has worked in various capacities at OR. They have been supervisor of “The Closet,” a space where women are provided clothing, personal hygiene, and cosmetic items, the coordinator of mentor services working with girls involved in the criminal legal system. Currently, Montrell is the director of Safety and Freedom Fund, which focuses on ending money bail in New Orleans and surrounding parishes. Montrell oversees partnerships with the National Bail Fund Network and the Bail Project. Montrell helped create and worked with the Louisiana Incarcerated Women’s Task Force, which has made several policy recommendations around women’s incarceration in Louisiana.
Interests at the intersection of higher education and the criminal legal system
“I do not feel that there are any positive and productive intersections of higher education and the criminal legal system. My interest is creating pathways to education that are not hindered by criminal legal system involvement.”
Expectations or goals for the Fellowship?
“My expectations are to get a better understanding of how to create meaningfulness policy. My goals are to use the tools I learn to create and implement policies in Louisiana.”