AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
Legal and Policy Advocacy, Racial Justice, Community Organizing, Leadership Development, Fundraising, Campaign Development, Non-Profit Management, Public Speaking.
Dorsey is a leading expert with over 40 years of professional experience in criminal justice reform. He is the first formerly incarcerated director of a public interest law office in California. Dorsey was sentenced to life in the California Department of Corrections when he was 19 years old. He paroled in 1981 and discharged from parole in 1984. Under his leadership LSPC has made significant advances including the development of the Elder Freeman Policy Fellowship, legal victories including the Ashker lawsuit that ended long term solitary confinement in California, and policy victories including numerous Ban the Box laws passed at the local, state, and federal levels, the end of shackling of pregnant women, and the biggest drug sentencing reform passed by the CA legislature in recent history (SB 180).
Prior to becoming Executive Director, he worked as a paralegal, community organizer, and program manager at LSPC and as a paralegal at the Prison Law Office. Dorsey’s leadership has helped to establish several local and national institutions and movement building projects including All of Us or None, Free at Last, Critical Resistance, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement. His commitment to anti-racist organizing is international. He has visited numerous international prisons including prisons in El Salvador, New Zealand, and South Africa. He has also served on delegations to international conferences including The International Conference on Prison Abolition in Canada and The International Conference on Youth in Cuba.
Dorsey has received federal and local recognition including the White House Champion of Change Award signed by President Obama, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by Nancy Pelosi, the Senate Certificate of Recognition by Senator Jackie Speier and Karen Bass, Certificate of Appreciation from the California State Assembly, Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, and recognition from the SF Board of Supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Chief Justice Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU of Northern California, the Movement Builders Award from A New Way of Life, and the Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks Visiting Professorship from the University of Michigan.
Dorsey has been instrumental to changing the national narrative around formerly incarcerated people and centering people with conviction histories as experts in the field of criminal justice reform. His work has been featured in local and national publications including the LA Times, the SF Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, NY Times, Washington Post, and the Nation. Michelle Alexander wrote about Dorsey and his work with all of Us or None in her best-selling book, The New Jim Crow. He is a frequently requested speaker at conferences, universities, and in documentaries including Ava DuVernay’s 13th. Since Dorsey was released from prison he has focused on reunifying, restoring, and healing his family. He is a loving father and grandfather who is inspired by his grandchildren and great grandchildren to keeping working to create a better future for all youth.
Formerly incarcerated activist fights to give people a chance to change. L.A. Times, March 13, 2015.
Ex-inmates behind push for California employers to ‘ban the box’. The Mercury News, October 13, 2017.
Ban the Box Keeps Families and Communities Together. New York Times, April 13, 2016.
Millions of ex-cons still can’t get jobs. Here’s how the White House could help fix that. Washington Post, January 22, 2015.