Lori Mellinger is a former newspaper writer from East Texas, who, in the midst of a longtime addiction to pills and alcohol, and many other substances, was arrested for the final time and served two years on a six-year sentence in TDCJ. While in prison, Lori decided to make some drastic changes in her life and paroled to Abilene, TX, a city where she had no ties. It was there that she heard her calling: to help women in similar circumstances walk a path to freedom. Lori has been out of prison since September of 2015, and in that time, has worked with upwards of 600 women. She has extensive non-profit experience and does direct service now for a non-profit educational and entrepreneurship organization operating at the Coleman Unit, working with women inside and outside of prison. Reentry, and the obstacles and barriers, is her specialty and she uses both her training and her lived experience to help women walk into freedom, too. Lori serves on the steering committee of the Statewide Leadership Council, a coalition of the Texas Center for Justice and Equity, in Austin and is an active graduate and part of the Truth Be Told community. She is also active with the Austin Reentry Roundtable.