Who Is James Muhammed Taylor?
Mr.Taylor is a man who has spent virtually every day of his incarceration atoning, taking full responsibility for, and making restitution for his actions in 1971. Mr. Taylor participated in the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (“VORP”) -- the first of its kind in the United States -- directed by Howard Zehr, Ph.D. and the late Julia G. Hall, Ph.D. Not only did Mr. Taylor complete the program, he also wrote and placed on file a letter in which he atoned and took full responsibility for his actions that caused the death of Mr. Robert Morgan. Why? He wanted to personally atone for his actions to Mr. Morgan’s family in the event they wanted to meet with him.
In the eyes of the souls “on the inside” -- at SCI Phoenix -- whose lives he has helped to transform, he is a Teacher, Mentor, and Father Figure. For souls “on the outside” – particularly, community stakeholders in the metropolitan Philadelphia area – Mr. Taylor is a Criminal Justice Reform , Reentry, and Restorative Justice Thought Leader and consultant upon whom they rely for solutions-based strategies that will help them effectively address and resolve the myriad of challenges that marginalize their community – challenges that include, but are not limited to, gun violence, recidivism, the “school-to-prison” pipeline, and lack of access to legitimate real-life career and employment opportunities for at risk-youths and young adult males. This speaks volumes about Mr. Taylor’s value to the community he will return to. Provided below is a snapshot of Mr. Taylor’s accomplishments during his four (4) decades of incarceration:
How Will Mr. Taylor Successfully Reintegrate Into Society?
- The recipient of the Pennsylvania Prison Society’s Prisoner Of The Year Award, Mr. Taylor is the holder of an Associate’s Degree in Business and Accounting from the Pennsylvania Business Institute, and a key member of SCI Phoenix LIFERS, Inc. (https://www.lifersincpa.org/) which represents Criminal Justice Reform from the “inside out” and has amassed a research-driven written body of work and solutions-based initiatives that span three (3) decades.
- On 17 February 2020, Mr. Taylor was one of the presenters for the SCI Phoenix LIFERS, Inc. – Senior Policy Advisors Presidential Campaign Criminal Justice Reform Conference Call with the National Policy Director for the Buttigieg Presidential Campaign. Mr. Taylor presented his solutions-based initiatives that addressed the underlying causes of recidivism, street crime, gun violence, and mass incarceration.
- He is the founder of People Advancing Reintegration (“PAR”) (https://home.par-recycleworks.org/) – an idea he created in 1989 at SCI Graterford that has expanded into an US$1,000,000.00 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization now known as People Advancing Reintegration Recycle Works – a successful electronics waste recycling operation established in 2016 – which employs Returning Citizens and operates in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- For fifteen (15) years, Mr. Taylor was employed as a Dental Technician in the Dental Lab at SCI Graterford
- A prolific writer and poet, Mr. Taylor is a Contributing Editor for IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, a quarterly international Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal (http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com).
- In his role as a key member of SCI Phoenix LIFERS, Inc.’s Internal Team which together with an External Team comprised of key community stakeholders, Mr. Taylor co-implemented the “Middle Neighborhoods At-Risk Youth And Young Adults Mentoring Program, A Branch Of LIFERS, Inc. Public Safety Initiative External Affiliations” -- a gun violence prevention/reduction initiative. The initiative, which was approved and funded by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Violence Prevention (https://mailchi.mp/phila. gov/city-awards-more-than-700000-to-grassroots-efforts-to-stem-gun-violence-309345?e=0dfdd a1bd3), prior to being suspended on 23 March 2020 due to Coronavirus-2019, was to operate for 13 weeks beginning on Saturday, 22 February 2020 through Saturday, 16 May 2020 in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Mr. Taylor served as a tutor in the Prison Literacy Project and completed a correspondence course in Short Story Writing offered by the Writer’s Digest School.
- During his incarceration, he was granted escorted leave twice – to receive “The Prisoner Of The Year Award” from The Pennsylvania Prison Society in recognition of his establishment of People Advancing Reintegration (https://home.par-recycleworks.org/) in 1989, an inmate self-help program at SCI Graterford – and to speak at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences on behalf of Educating Children for Parenting (www.ecparenting.org).
- For nine (9) years, Mr. Taylor taught “Thresholds, A Problem-Solving & Decision Making Course”.
Mr. Taylor’s journey to successful reintegration will be supported by a diverse group of community stakeholders who stand ready to lend their expertise and talents to his solutions-based initiatives. He will employ the well-honed communications, entrepreneurial, leadership, business management, problem-solving, and research skills -- developed during his four (4) decades of incarceration -- to transforming his vision for a business-driven Reentry Zone into an entity that reduces recidivism by providing a full-range of support services which includes housing and employment for Returning Citizens. Under Mr. Taylor’s leadership, the Reentry Zone will simultaneously create economic sustainability for the marginalized community it surrounds. Mr. Taylor’s mentoring of incarcerated young adults, which spans numerous decades, serves as the foundation for the mentoring initiative he has established -- “Project Pipeline-To-Prison Youth/Reclaiming Their Lives As Men”. The mentoring initiative, for which Mr. Taylor has developed a curriculum, will transform the mindset, decision making, and behavior of at-risk youths in marginalized communities. At-risk youths enrolled in “Project Pipeline-To-Prison Youths/Reclaiming Their Lives As Men” will learn entrepreneurial skills, develop communications, literacy, problem-solving and research skills, and will have access to and create legitimate real-life employment and career opportunities. Mr. Taylor will continue his role as a consultant to community stakeholders and national senior policy makers on Reentry, Criminal Justice Reform, .and Restorative Justice.