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Articles by Daniel A. Rosen

Former Prisoners Are Running for Office In 2020

Tarra Simmons is one of those voices, running for a state representative seat in Washington. Simmons, like many others, found herself addicted to opiates after a serious injury led to dependence on painkillers. Charges for drug dealing, theft and weapons possession followed, leading to almost two years behind bars.

Being incarcerated is part of her story and her identity, and she’s using it as an asset. “I went to prison. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I understand how people end up there,” Simmons says. As lawmakers try to reform policing and justice, it’s vital to have that perspective represented in state capitals and Congress.

Prison is not the only experience Simmons brings to the race. She was an ER nurse prior to her incarceration, and afterward earned a law degree and started a civil rights nonprofit. She ...