Author, former inmate to discuss life story with TROY students

Posted: Monday, 01 February 2016

TROY – A leading national advocate on drug sentencing reform will speak at Troy University on Thursday, Feb. 4.

Kemba Smith, a rising college student at Hampton University who fell in love with a crack cocaine kingpin and landed in federal prison, uses her experiences to deliver a message about the consequences of life choices, and advocates for drug sentencing reform.

She speaks at 7 p.m. in the Trojan Center Ballrooms. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Sentenced in 1994 to 24.5 years in prison, she was pardoned in 2000 by then-Pres. Bill Clinton after serving six-and-a-half years. Her case drew support from across the nation and the world to reverse the trend of lengthy sentences for first-time, non-violent drug offenders. Her story has been featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show, Judge Hatchett, and other television programs. She has been featured in publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, JET, Emerge, Essence, Heart and Soul, Glamour and People Magazine.

A graduate of Virginia Union University, she received a two-year Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellowship for advocates. She has spoken on panels, and has testified before Congress and the United Nations regarding criminal justice issues such as crack cocaine sentencing, mandatory drug sentencing, women and incarceration, felony disenfranchisement and re-entry. Author of the autobiography “Poster Child,” Smith has started the Kemba Smith Foundation. She continues to speak for school, college and corporate venues.

At TROY, Smith is being sponsored by the Office of Student Services.