Poet Ambassador & Co-Chair of Thrive Under 25

James Carpenter has been a Free Minds member since 2016, and he credits books as putting him on the path to self improvement. At the age of 17 James was charged as an adult and given a sentence of 57 years to life. After serving nearly 18 years, during which he read over 500 books and earned numerous vocational certifications, James petitioned the court for resentencing under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment ACT (IRAA). In 2020, James was released and joined the Free Minds reentry program. James served as the 2022-2023 Congressman John Lewis Fellow, completing his term in April 2023. James currently serves as Co-Chair of the Thrive Under 25 coalition, and is a proud member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN). He works directly with incarcerated youth in his work as a Credible Messenger and as a Peer Mentor for Changing Perceptions. James serves as an Advisory Council member for Neighbors For Justice, where he works to educate lawmakers, community members, and stakeholders on the realities of those housed at the D.C. Jail and throughout the BOP prison system. James also enjoys exercising and exploring his interests in theoretical physics and math.