Devin D. Coleman: Helping felons get back into society

Carliana Harris and Paolo Cesar

As a single father, public speaker, and author, Devin D. Coleman has made significant strides in the thirteen years since his incarceration ended.

Starting as a student at Florida A&M University, a physical altercation brought then-21-year-old Coleman into prison and a long process of fixing his life again, using his time in prison as inspiration both for his writing career and outreach for others in the system.

“I use my story to enlighten people,” Coleman said. “I use that period in my life to steer youth away from those mistakes that I made. I had to position myself to be successful when I get home.”

Using creative outlets as a means of expressing himself and his message was what inspired Coleman’s first book, Prisoner to Poet: Thoughts of an Incarcerated Soul. Furthermore, sharing his story allowed him to reach out to and work with other individuals helping returning citizens reintegrate into society such as C.U.T.S. founder Ellis Curry.

“I can go on all day about the different struggles people get, transitioning from the inside to the outside,” Curry said. “But the thing is, we need to really make a space for people to come in. I really needed that when I got out, ‘cause I was struggling to the point where I was contemplating ‘Hey man, how can I go back in?’”

Devin continues his work to advocate for returning citizens and younger individuals who need guidance as he did before his incarceration, keeping in mind the lessons he’s learned from his mentors and associates to “do so much good, that you push your mugshot to Page 100.”