CCJ Directory

Topeka K. Sam - Executive Director, The Ladies of Hope Ministries (LOHM)

Topeka K. Sam

Founder, The Ladies of Hope Ministries
Women's Justice Commission

Topeka K. Sam founded The Ladies of Hope Ministries in 2017 to support women and girls who are impacted by the criminal legal system. While incarcerated, she realized that prison and jail are not conducive to healing and rehabilitation. Upon her release, Sam made it her mission to create pathways to success for women and girls and advocate for alternatives to incarceration. She serves on the board of directors for The Marshall Project, Operation Restoration, Pure Legacee, and United Justice Coalition. She is a strategic adviser for the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice and the Health and Reentry Project. 

Since her release from federal prison on May 5, 2015, Sam has served as a 2015 Beyond the Bars Fellow and a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar, both from Columbia University; a 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow; a 2018 Unlocked Futures Inaugural Cohort Member; a 2018 Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute Fellow; director of #Dignity for Incarcerated Women Campaign; and senior adviser for New Yorkers United for Justice. In 2020, the United Nations appointed Sam as the Goodwill Ambassador for Social Justice (Incarceration Reform) of the Global Festival of Creative Economy.  

In December 2020, Sam received a full presidential pardon for her dedication to helping women turn from a path of despair toward a path of redemption. She has worked and continues to work selflessly and relentlessly in her fight for the dignity, decriminalization, and decarceration of women and girls.