"IT'S NOT WHERE YOU START THAT DEFINES YOU, YOU'RE DEFINED BY WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT" ~ MARLO
Marlo Speaking at S.C.C. (Prison in Jamestown, CA).
Marlo is the Author of the books, From Da Bottoms 2 Da Top, What U Meant For Evil, and Speak Despite Da Fear. Marlo is also the Number One System Impacted Motivational Speaker in the country. He is the host of I Used To Be A Criminal which is a talk show aired on You Tube that is geared around changing the negative stigma surrounding previously incarcerated individuals. He also voluntarily uses his voice to motivate, inspire and encourage the gentleman serving prison sentences at Sierra Conservation Center, San Quentin State Prison and Deuel Vocational Institution which is a prison located in Tracy Ca. He is also the ongoing keynote speaker and motivator to parolees at the Santa Clara Parole Department monthly P.A.C.T. Meetings.
Marlo was born in San Francisco and uprooted to Oakland at the early age of 6. Growing up in Oakland during the early 80’s Marlo fell victim to living in an unhealthy and unstable home. Marlo’s mother became addicted to drugs and his father an abusive functional alcoholic didn’t spend much time at all with him. Between the ages of 7 and 8 Marlo also fell victim to sexual abuse by the hands of an older female family member. Marlo can recall living in 26 different apartments, 12 motels, 2 times in the Salvation Army, and once inside of a drug rehabilitation center with his mother between the ages of 1 and 17. Several times a month Marlo had to stand in very long lines at Saint Vincent De Paul to get free hot meals.
As Marlo became older he got deep into the drug game as well as running around with several different types of guns. Marlo was arrested several times and eventually spent 39 months incarcerated. While in prison Marlo came up with the motto “Prison Is Not An Option, Yet It Is Still A Choice.” As he served his time in prison, Marlo enrolled into the carpentry program. After obtaining some skills in carpentry, he transferred out of carpentry and into auto mechanics. He quickly picked up some skills in that trade and once again he transferred programs but this time he went into welding. Marlo knew that he was going to be heading back into society and unfortunately felons are not received with many open hands. He also understood that if he learned every trade that he could, this would give him the best possible opportunity to become gainfully employed.
Marlo was released from prison on Dec. 27, 2007, and received his first job three weeks later as a carpentry apprentice. He would later study the commercial drivers hand book at DMV and get his permit. Then he went on to teach himself how to drive 18 wheelers and obtained his Class “A” driver’s license. Marlo went on to become employed as a garbage truck driver. However, he still had a void in his spirit to fill and that void was to go back to encourage others that were in prison. So he begun to fill that void as he started to speak to the youth of the Kevin Grant Foundation, the Oakland Midnight Basketball League, then he went back to speak at Sierra Conservation Center. This is a prison that Marlo spent 22 months of his time.
Marlo enrolled into community college and earned 5 associate degrees: Police Science, Corrections, Social & Behavioral Science, Liberal Arts and Sociology as well as 3 Certificates of Achievements. He went on to graduate with a Bachelors of the Arts Degree form Cal State East Bay University in 2021.
He has severed as the Chair and has served as Vice and Co-Chair of the Alameda County Advisory Board AB109: the duties and responsibilities of this board are to provide advice, make recommendations and provide a community perspective on the implementation and outcomes of the County’s Realignment plan to a committee of public officials comprising of the Chief Probation Officer, the Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, Healthcare Director, a representative of the Courts and a local Police Chief. He has also sat as a Programming Committee Member and as a member of the Social Justice Committee which is part of the Associated Students, Incorporated (ASI) at California State University, East Bay.