Our staff believes in helping formerly incarcerated individuals reach their full potential through access to higher education.

Syrita Steib-Martin (Executive Director)  

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Syrita Steib-Martin is a nationally certified and licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist. She has an unrelenting passion to help women successfully reenter into society after incarceration through education. At the age of 19, Steib-Martin was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison. After serving 110 months, she earned her B.S. from LSUHSC in New Orleans. Currently, she is a Laboratory Support Services Supervisor.  Mrs. Steib-Martin is the founder and Executive Director of Operation Restoration (The OR). The OR successfully drafted and helped pass House Bill 688, now Act 276. Act 276 became law on August 1, 2017 and essentially prohibits public post-secondary institutions in Louisiana from asking questions relating to criminal history for purposes of admissions. Louisiana, the first to pass this type of legislation was due to the personal testimonies and advocacy of Steib-Martin and others. Steib-Martin is a founding member of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls which unapologetically advocates to end the incarceration of all women and girls. Operation Restoration wants to bring awareness to the fact that Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than anywhere in the world. Steib-Martin is committed to changing this statistic one woman at a time.

 

Georgia Barlow (Development Coordinator)

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Georgia Barlow is a senior at Tulane University studying political science with a concentration in international relations and international development. She is a Newcomb Scholar, where her research interests have included how grassroots organizing helps New Orleans women. She has lived in Berlin, Germany while working as a research intern on international security for the Brandenburg Institute of Security and Society, and more recently she has been a grant writing intern at the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. She has worked in multiple New Orleans schools as a math and english teaching assistant and serves as a board member for Life and Hope Haiti.

 

 

Annie Freitas (Advocacy Director)

Annie Freitas is a Ph.D. student in Tulane University’s City, Culture, and CommunityScreen Shot 2017-08-08 at 10.22.14 AM program. Her research focuses on higher education in prison and she is interested in developing and evaluating policy and programming for prisons in Louisiana. Ms. Freitas is also the founder of the Louisiana Prison Education Coalition(LPEC), which was launched in 2015 and works to develop partnerships between colleges and prisons to ensure that every person who is incarcerated in Louisiana has access to higher education. LPEC operates the Women FIRST Clinic, which provides resources for formerly incarcerated women to achieve educational goals.
Ms. Freitas is the Advocacy Director for Operation Restoration and works closely with Ms. Steib-Martin to develop legislation to positively impact the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls in Louisiana. In 2017, Ms. Freitas worked with Ms. Steib-Martin to research and write Act 276, making Louisiana the first state in the nation to “ban the box” in college admissions.