Kristy Laschober had a thriving business as a wardrobe stylist in Southern California. Born with a rare medical condition, she became addicted to opioids as a child. After nearly 10 years of sobriety and ending a marriage to a police officer, Kristy relapsed. This change in trajectory led Kristy to trying methamphetamine and eventually selling to an individual in Connecticut.
As a first time, low-risk offender, she was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison. Kristy did her time in five different facilities including her last two years at the maximum security FMC Carswell in Texas.
This unique and devastating experience has given Kristy deep gratitude and a thirst for life that comes only from having your freedom taken away. Kristy shares her vulnerable story with grace and dignity, while encouraging other women to do the same.
Released in 2017, graduating summa cum laude from Southern Oregon University was her first accomplishment. Kristy continues to be a fierce advocate for recovery and prison reform, leading the fight to remove the criminal history box on college applications in Oregon and advocating to provide new opportunities for second chances.
Kristy is the founder of The Freedom Exchange Project, where she has audacious conversations with people from all over the country who have used their most painful experiences to fuel their fire in service work.
Kristy is also the Community Resource Director for the Oregon non-profit, Reclaiming Lives/Recovery Cafe, is on the advisory board for AllCare CCO, and is a Conversation Leader for Oregon Humanities.
Kristy uses her lived experience and expertise to remove barriers so that people who have experienced incarceration can get adequate support in a higher education setting. Her work as a project design team member for Redeeming Scholars and in OCHEP, Oregon Coaltion on Higher Education in Prison, continues to pave the way for others.
The Freedom Exchange Project LLC
It's easy to fall in line and follow suit when it comes to leading, managing or owning a business. We see others who have gone before us and assume their path is the safe and proven passage. But what if our truest path to groundbreaking success lies in who we already are? What if our perceived weaknesses are actually what will set us apart and propel our industry forward? What if the experts in our field are not actually the gatekeepers? Join us as we explore the advantage of purposefully disrupting traditional leadership culture and celebrating the opportunity to own who we are.
There are so many things about being in federal prison that shocked me. Not just the lack of programs, reentry services and medical and mental health services, but the perpetuated trauma that compounds women incarcerated. I wasn’t going to tell anyone I went to prison, but I began to talk about my journey to a select few while being supported in Judge Ann Aiken's reentry court. Shame was slowly replaced with purpose and a curiosity at what else I could be successful at. I was surprised by what I could achieve by my hard work in a positive direction and the abundant support I received from the reentry team. What if this support had started while I was in prison? What if professionals and authoritative figures asked how they could help me be my best self? What if I discovered who my best self was? What if my trauma was addressed based on my pre-sentencing report? What if there was a drug program that allowed me to share my truth without being punished for it?
A presentation chronologically depicting the moments of a females first arrest.
We are not defined by our worst moments.