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Marlon is the author of Bird Uncaged,  a 21st century abolitionist memoir, and a powerful debut that demands a shift from punishment to healing, an end to mass incarceration, and a new vision of justice.

“That [Bird Uncaged] is gonna save somebody. It will ultimately, I think, possibly keep somebody from hurting somebody else. Or allow someone to seek accountability.”

Darnell Moore, author of No More Ashes & Vice President, Inclusion Strategy at Netflix

What others are saying about

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Kirkus Reviews

A worthwhile contribution to evolving conversations on race and criminal justice.

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The Stacks Podcast

I love what Marlon says about the humanity of the millions of incarcerated peoples. I loved thinking about abolition in this deeply personal (vs policy) way.

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Booklist Reviews

Peterson embraces the hard work of getting clear on the societal racism that disallows Black and brown humanity; on one’s own agency and choices; and on the abusive prison system that isn’t working.

Watch Marlon's TED Talk, "Am i not human?
1.2 million views and counting...

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Listen to episodes of the DEcarcerated Podcast

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Live Recording of the DEcarcerated Podcast

Fireside Chats with
Alicia Garza & Jemele Hill


About Marlon

                    Marlon Peterson is a         



Since his decade of incarceration, he has written, created programming, lectured, organized, and advocated alongside the formerly incarcerated, victims of gun violence, womxn, immigrants, and young people.  Marlon is the author of Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist’s Freedom Song, host of the DEcarcerated Podcast, and owner of his own social impact endeavor, The Precedential Group Social Enterprises and its nonprofit arm, Be Precedential, Inc. His TED talk, “Am I not human? A call for criminal justice reform”, has amassed over 1.2 million views.


During his incarceration, Marlon co-created How Our Lives Link Altogether, H.O.L.L.A, a youth development organization that has provided programming, college trips, and mentorship for NYC public school students and justice-involved youth.  As the Associate Director of a project of the Center for Court Innovation, Marlon created Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets, and served as a violence interrupter in his Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood.  Marlon also worked for the Fortune Society as the Director of Community Relations and was the Board Chair of Families for Freedom.


As a Soros Fellow, Senior Atlantic Fellow, and Aspen Civil Society Fellow, Marlon has used his activism and pen to advocate for safer communities, reduce the footprint of law enforcement, and to amplify the work of individuals and grassroots organizations across the globe.  Marlon’s writervism and DEcarcerated Podcast has allowed him to lecture and conduct workshops throughout the US, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, and Oxford, London.


Marlon sits on the Board of Directors of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Advisory Board of the Center for Court Innovation, Board of the Criminal Justice Action Fund, and the Village Capital Justice Tech Advisory Board. 


Marlon’s bylines have appeared in USA Today, The Nation, Ebony, Essence, Gawker, The Marshall Project, The Root., and  His essays have also been published in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others Kiese Laymon and How We Fight White Supremacy by Kenrya Rankin & Akiba Solomon., Colin Kaepernick's Medium Series: Abolition for the People. 



In 2015, he was honored as one of the top 100 leaders in the Black community by Ebony Magazine.  


Marlon is a soca and steelpan lover, and a Brooklyn representer. He's working on script, raising a daughter, and growing his first gray hairs.

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"Bird Uncaged is a beautifully comprised melody America needs to learn to memory. It is an abolitionist's song about freedom, healing, transformation, and justice that can not only change the lives of the incarcerated, but also the vision of America's prisons and criminal justice system."

Dr. Candice N. Hale, Bookstagrammer
IG: @blackbiracialandbookish
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