Bill Leslie Visionary Award – Marlon Chamberlain, Fully Free


The Fully Free Campaign at Heartland Alliance is an effort led by Marlon Chamberlain, working to unravel the hundreds of permanent punishments enshrined in Illinois law that hinder the freedoms of people who have been impacted by the criminal legal system. Fully Free brings a community-minded and leadership-development-based approach to the advocacy and education efforts it undertakes, working tirelessly to ensure that the voice of change comes from those who have directly experienced our flawed criminal legal system.

Marlon, is a father, community organizer, and brilliant leader with over 20 years of experience fighting for returning citizens' rights. His vision to not only change policy but build power for impacted communities across the state has begun to shift the paradigm and narrative of how people look at our criminal legal system. By working to transform the criminal legal system reform landscape into one that is led by the people who are most impacted by it, the Fully Free campaign perfectly embodies the phrase "community-based" partner.

Marlon and Fully Free have partnered with Cabrini Green Legal Aid to advance CGLA’s Policy and Advocacy work over the course of the past several years. First working with CGLA as a member of RROCI (the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois), Marlon dedicated remarkable time to ensuring that people who have served their time are able to more easily access housing, jobs, and opportunities.

Fully Free and Marlon are also critical parts of the Illinois Clean Slate Steering Committee, working alongside CGLA and other partners in our efforts to pass the most progressive automatic record sealing and expungement legislation in the country. As a partner organization, Fully Free has amplified CGLA's work and efforts to advance racial equity goals by enriching the Clean Slate campaign and the


Illinois criminal legal reform community with brilliant, creative, and dedicated system-impacted leaders. As this year's recipient of the Bill Leslie Visionary Award, we recognize and honor the substantial impact that Fully Free has had on advancing the criminal legal reform movement and ensuring that it is steered by those whose lived experiences make them experts in this work.