Our Founder

Marq Mitchell


Before the age of 22, Marq had spent seven years incarcerated in juvenile and adult facilities. As the child of formerly incarcerated parents, he entered the foster care system at an early age. His life’s trajectory was forever impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline, the child welfare system, and ultimately, the criminal legal system.

Because of his experiences, Marq developed a deep understanding of the challenges faced by justice-involved people. Post-incarceration, Marq encountered difficulties re-transitioning into society due to stigma, collateral consequences, and a lack of resources available to returning citizens. Most individuals exiting incarceration struggle to access employment, housing, and education. Although he overcame these barriers and created a second chance at life, he is driven by the reality that, for many, there is simply no ‘second chance.’ This is why Marq created Chainless Change, a community of recovery, advocacy, and support for those affected by the justice system.

Imagine wearing a t-shirt that has all of the poor decisions that you've ever made in your life printed BOLDLY on the front? That's what it's like having a criminal record.

In addition to his work with Chainless Change, Marq also serves on a variety of local and statewide advocacy boards and initiatives relating to ending mass incarceration and other systems change efforts. He is a Roddenberry Fellow, Radical Partners Neighborhood Hero, The Sentencing Project’s Race and Justice Award recipient, Broward Young Democrats 2020 “Trailblazer of the Year” and a member of New Leaders Council (Broward). Prior to becoming a community organizer, he spent years volunteering for local organizations, working to reduce recidivism by providing advocacy and support for at-risk youth and other underserved populations.

Marq studied Business Administration, but believes his most valuable lessons came from his personal experiences with being a black man in America and overcoming the barriers associated with his history of behavioral health conditions, incarceration and poverty. 

To Marq, recovery is a life-long journey built upon both self-sufficiency and access to community. He is guided daily by the belief that everyone is capable of recovering, and by the reality that we need community to recover.