Molly Rowan Leach is an Executive Producer, Strategist, and Media Specialist.
She has been involved in multiple forms of media advocacy and hands-on community based work towards restorative systems change since her mother’s incarceration which lasted fifteen years (1995-2014), and which led her to witness the dire complexities of a punitive justice system.
As a result of her life experiences, a framing question arose: how can one’s personal struggle with injustice across the board be transformed to service, to give back to the countless millions who suffer each day?
Molly recognized that victims voices are excluded from process, and that offenders are especially treated inhumanely, often forced to re-live their crime endlessly. The lack of any form of say from any stakeholder in the criminal justice system keeps people separate and uninvolved in outcomes, while in fact millions of lives are destroyed needlessly.
The US incarcerates 25% of the worlds prisoners, while comprising 5% of total global population. Within that statistic is also the fact that the system oppresses black men, and the mentally ill, at rates that are astoundingly clear: criminal justice is not about healing or equality--it has been about denying those who are our most meek, or those who this culture deems undeserving or dangerous. Molly's work aims to make real the tough issues we've long swept under the rug. Her life is dedicated to truth and advocacy.
Molly founded Restorative Justice on The Rise, an ongoing public dialogue and education platform, in 2011, and has trained in facilitation of Circles with Dominic Barter, Sylvia Clute, the late Dr. Beverly Title, and has participated in or led dialogues with both high-risk and misdemeanor conflicts.
She has worked alongside civic leaders representing most areas of the criminal justice system, as well as teachers, principals and advocates for transforming school climate, most recently leading a training for the Durango School District with Dr. Martha Brown, author of Creating Restorative Schools.
In addition, Molly’s writing has appeared at a diverse array of online publications including TruthOut, YES! Online, Daily Good, Open Democracy, and HuffPost.
Her essay featuring a Colorado Police Officer whose opinion about RJ shifted drastically after he responded to a felony-level break in involving 10 and 11-year old boys was selected for inclusion in an Oxford University textbook, Current Debates in Peace and Conflict Studies (Oxford Press; Ed. Houston Wood, October 2017)
Molly believes that restorative justice is not just about systems, but the holistic integration of restorative values starting within ourselves, in our immediate lives, and how we have the opportunity to re-frame our relationships: with ourselves, one another, with conflict and harm.
Molly is mother to a wonderful 12 year old son and they live in the heart of Colorado. She has roots across the West and has also lived overseas in Prague, Czech Republic, inspired by Havel’s Living in Truth, and by the study of the oppression of ideology on the human spirit. As a way of quiet and steady self-inquiry, her practices include Yogananda’s Kriya Yoga, exercise, and plenty of time skiing and being outdoors with her family and friends.