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Meet This Year's Speakers

We are proud to bring exceptional speakers from across the state of Mississippi for this year's State of Mississippi Reentry Conference!

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Megan Bennett

SCOTT PEYTON
MISSISSIPPI STATE DIRECTOR @
RIGHT ON CRIME

The Successes and Challenges Faced by Community Supervision

Scott Peyton is the Louisiana and Mississippi state director for Right on Crime. He has over 12 years of work experience with the State of Louisiana: first as a child welfare specialist, then as a juvenile probation and parole officer. Prior to joining Right on Crime, he worked in adult probation and parole as a specialist supervising violent offender caseloads. Peyton has spent time as both a volunteer and reserve deputy sheriff, as well as providing as-needed support to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center working as a correctional officer.

 

As a former instructor with Peace Officer Standards and Training certification, he taught at the Probation and Parole Police Academy. Peyton has witnessed firsthand the need for criminal justice reform, the impacts of rehabilitation and re-entry programs, and the inner workings of the Louisiana Probation and Parole system.

Alicia Pic.jpg

CHRISTINA DENT
FOUNDER @
END IT FOR GOOD

Igniting Hope: How to Change Minds and Engage Communities

Christina Dent invites people to support approaches to drugs that prioritize life and the opportunity to thrive. She supported a criminal justice approach to drugs until experiences as a foster parent led her on a multi-year journey to understand which policies could reduce crime, overdose, and unnecessary incarceration. She changed her mind in favor of health-centered approaches after becoming convinced they led to outcomes that better aligned with her deepest values.

 

Christina presented the research and experiences that changed her mind as a TEDx Talk and went on to found End It For Good. 

Aaron Smith

Donte Jones 
CHIEF HOPE OFFICER @
MAGCOR

Conference Host

Donte is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and came to Mississippi in 1999 on football scholarship to Jackson State University. He currently resides with my wife and children in Madison, Mississippi. He earned his Master’s in Education and currently has a teacher’s certification in the state of Mississippi and have taught history and coached middle school football in the past.

 

Donte gained his passion for reentry after teaching GED and coordinating release preparation courses in the federal prison system. He is responsible for overseeing our Reentry Staff and we work as a team to assist formerly incarcerated individuals/workers to successfully transition back into their communities and society

Megan Bennett
POLICY ASSOCIATE @
SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER

Moderator: Reentry Organizations Panel Discussion

Megan Bennett is currently the Mississippi Policy Associate at the Southern Poverty Law Center. She previously worked at the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office prosecuting telemarketers on behalf of the Public Service Commission and at MDCPS writing policy and managing the Olivia Y.  lawsuit settlement. Megan is a native Mississippian and knew she wanted to do public policy work here in her home state after her first year in law school. 

Scott Peyton

ALICIA NETTERVILLE, ESQ.
PRINCIPAL @
THE ACCLIVITY GROUP, LLC

Forming a Reentry Coalition

Through her wealth of legal, policy, advocacy and organizing experience, Alicia provides people-center consulting services to non-profit and public interest organizations. Prior to forming Acclivity Group, Alicia served as ACLU Mississippi’s Deputy Director and Policy Director where she successfully organized campaigns focused on issues of social justice and equity, with a particular focus on criminal legal reform and voting rights.

Before becoming a lawyer, Alicia worked in the public and social justice sectors where she obtained a wide range of policy, legislative advocacy, and community organizing experience. Alicia’s commitment to public service extends well-beyond her professional career.

Christina Dent

AARON SMITH
FOUNDER @
ESCAPING THE ODDS MEDIA

Story Telling Sessions

Aaron is a native of the South Side of Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Columbia College Chicago, and it wasn’t long after that he began his journey within the criminal justice system. In 2009, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in death. Aaron knew that he had the soul of an entrepreneur, his drug operation sold over $15,000 per day, but as he likes to say, “I was selling the wrong product, so I had to switch hustles.” 

 

He was released from federal prison after nine years and five months in February 2019. With his belief In God and a lot of hard work, his focus was to live out his passion of entrepreneurship and make an impact through his media company, Escaping the Odds.  Aaron was awarded the 2021 Media for a Just Society Award in the podcast/radio category.

Donte Jones
Benny Ivey

BENNY IVEY
CO-DIRECTOR @
STRONG ARMS OF JACKSON

Lunch Keynote Speaker

Benny grew up between Jackson and Rankin County, Mississippi, all my life. Raised and conditioned from a very young age to be nothing more than a drug addict and an outlaw, a meth addict of 18 years and Central Mississippi Regional Captain of the Simon City Royals organization here in Central Mississippi. I began to get clean and climb from those pits of addiction and the street life in 2010.

 

With more than 10 years clean from meth and long since retirement from the organization, Benny is a devoted husband his beautiful wife and an exceptional father to a beautiful daughter, and a standing member of Move Church in Pearl, MS. He is the owner of Benny Ivey Plumbing & More LLC in Central Mississippi, Co-Director of The Strong Arms of Mississippi Credible Messenger Program Jxn/Rankin and solid proof that we don’t have to be Products of our Environment! 

HANNAH WILLIAMS
VOTING RIGHTS COORDINATOR @
MISSISSIPPI VOTES

Paint, Sip, & Learn

Hannah Burnell Williams is a native of Jackson Mississippi and a 2016 graduate of Jackson State University where she received a B.A. in History and is currently attending Harvard University Extension School for a master's in museum studies. 

 

Hannah joined the Mississippi Votes team in 2019 as the Policy and Research Analyst where she leads the work in voting reform for pre-trial detainees and the restoration of rights for the felony disenfranchised as well as organizing student and community interaction with the Mississippi Legislature and directs the One Girl, One Vote fellowship.

Hannah Williams
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