Melissa Ludin is currently Board President of Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing. As a formerly incarcerated woman, she leads with an unrelenting passion for criminal justice reform and reentry peer support. Melissa’s first hand experience of peer support started while she was incarcerated more than 10 years ago. Once incarcerated, she quickly became a leader by galvanizing women from extremely diverse backgrounds to open up about their paths and learn from each other. Her goal was to build trust and provide support. After her release in 2007, she held true to her mission and continued to provide peer support to women who were still incarcerated and upon release.
Aside from her role with EXPO, she is also the Statewide Network Coordinator for Grassroots Empowerment Project, a state-wide nonprofit organization engaged in direct peer support services, wellness and recovery education and training, and advocacy. Their mission is to create opportunities for people seeking mental health, recovery and wellness to exercise power in their lives. She currently assists in the development of a reentry peer support curriculum. Using the participatory framework this project serves to support reentry and community integration of criminal justice – involved consumers who identify with mental health, or substance abuse. In this role, she also facilitates training for reentry peer support specialists who have lived through incarceration, jail or a state mental hospital.
Melissa also assisted in the development of EXPO Fox Cities, a chapter of Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing. In addition, Melissa is also a board member of Esther and a member on their prison reform task team. Esther is a grassroots and interfaith nonprofit organization that works throughout the greater Fox Valley region. They are a part of the state-wide Wisdom network and the Gamaliel Foundation.