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Kemba  Smith

Kemba Smith

Author & Criminal Justice Advocate


Kemba Smith Pradia went from college student to drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim to federal prisoner; and 1994 she was sentenced to 24.5 years in federal prison. Kemba’s case drew support from across the nation. Read More >

Often labeled the “poster child” for reversing a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first-time, non-violent drug offenders, Kemba’s story was featured on a variety of television shows and in several publications. The support prompted then President Clinton to commute her sentence in December 2000, after having served 6.5 years in prison.

Today, Kemba is a wife, mother, public speaker, advocate, consultant and author of Poster Child. She has worked with senior officials at The White House, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Members of Congress, and has led trainings for Federal and State Probation organizations across the country. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her courage and determination as a motivational speaker and advocate. In 2019, Kemba was appointed to the Virginia Parole Board by Governor Ralph Northam and she continues to serve on the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. Prior to her appointment, she held the position of State Advocacy Campaigns Director with the ACLU of Virginia.

Along with being an advocate for criminal justice reform, Kemba is the founder of her 501 (c) 3, The Kemba Smith Foundation. Ultimately, Kemba knows that there is a lesson in each experience in life, and she has embraced her experience, learned from it, and is now using that experience to teach others. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

American Drug Policy & Its Devastating Effects

Women & Mass Incarceration

First Generational & First-Year College Student Empowerment

Making Healthy Choices & Consequences

Domestic Violence, Self-Esteem & Relationships

Personal Responsibility: Today’s Choices are Tomorrow’s Consequences