Amber Crowder is the founder of the Been Down Project, a digital platform designed to provide a space for people impacted by incarceration and more broadly, America’s criminal justice system; to connect, uplift one another, and exchange stories and thoughts of their lived experiences. Through the platform she also strives to raise general awareness around the system and the countless examples of inequalities and injustices, with a particular focus on the unique effect incarceration has on women.
Having spent time at a federal prison, Amber experienced first-hand how devastating and disruptive incarceration is, not only for the people who are locked up, but for their families and loved ones. America’s obsession with severe punishment and incarceration became very clear to her after years of an investigation that led to her unnecessarily aggressive apprehension, indictment, and prison sentence.
Faced with reuniting and reestablishing a bond with her toddler-aged son and the many legal barriers that make reentry into society difficult, upon her release she wanted to identify how her journey and experience within the system could help others and affect change. That is how the Been Down Project started. The curated content is intentionally blunt, and her accounts of her experience are vulnerable and transparent. Amber has the unique ability to blend humor and wit into her lived experience with incarceration. The interwoven tone of comedy and levity makes it easier for her and others to cope with the trauma of incarceration. In addition, Amber provides personalized support in the form of coaching to women who are facing sentencing, women and their families who are currently incarcerated and women who are reentering society.