Former inmate shares truth about mass incarceration


Richie Reseda presents to a full room about his experience in mass incarceration Wednesday. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson

An entire room filled with an audience hearing Richie Reseda, the co-founder of Initiate Justice, talk about the impact of the prison industrial complex.

In 2011, Reseda was sent to prison after he committed robbery. Since then he has gone on to talk about the impacts the prison has on an individual person and how the prison system does more harm than good.

He came to Chico State Wednesday to talk about the truth behind mass incarceration and how it impacts people’s daily lives.

“The prison industrial complex is upheld by everybody, all of our beliefs, votes and money go to support this system so all of us need to challenge the system as well,” said Reseda who came to campus to educate students on what he believes is right.

“Student’s, like the rest of the people in this state and country, are bombarded with images and ideas of who incarcerated people are and how dangerous they are and that we need prisons to protect us,” said Reseda. “I’m here to tell a different story, a truer story.”

Raseda said his experience in prison is was terrible and that they are designed to traumatize people instead of focus on solving problems. Moving a person hundreds of miles away from there family, people they care about and locking them up in a cell won’t do anything, said Resada.

The goal is to stop harm instead of creating institutions that create a cycle of harm.

“The prison industrial complex overwhelmingly affects people of color, it incarcerates black and Latinx men at the highest rate,” said Reseda. “But, it impacts black and Latinx woman in that it is the resources of black and Latinx women that are extracted from the prison industrial complex for it to exist.”

According to Reseda, the system relies on the labor and resources of black and Latinx women to survive and the bodies of black and Latinix men to survive.

Not falling for fear politics, supporting local organizations that are fighting to end the prison industrial complex and statewide organizations that initiate justice could end the prison industrial complex.

“The prison industrial complex relies on our fear to survive, so we can’t be afraid of each other,” said Reseda. “When somebody harms us we need to find it in ourselves to: one make sure we are safe, but two: not buy into the idea that they need to be harmed in response.”

Reseda can be reached on Instagram @RichieReseda.

Julian Mendoza can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JulianMTheOrion.