Linda Argila | Why We Need Prison Reform: An Insider’s Perspective

Between 1980 and 2016, the number of women incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons increased by more than 700 percent. Roughly 17 years ago, Linda Argila became one of them. She was sentenced to a year and a day in Danbury Federal Correctional Facility for harboring a fugitive. At six months pregnant, young and in love, she discovered that the father of her unborn child was one of the biggest marijuana smugglers in the country. Because he was never captured, she faced a decade of federal interrogations, and was eventually torn from her 9-year-old daughter.

Linda witnessed firsthand the way incarceration rips at the hearts of children and families, as well as the physical and mental injustices that women—the majority of them nonviolent, first-time offenders—face in prison. Today, she is an advocate for prison reform, proposing alternatives for nonviolent offenders, as well as new standards of dignity and respect for those behind bars.

Linda Argila is a professional writer, speaker, and advocate for people faced with life challenges, principally women and children impacted by incarceration. Licensed and bonded by the Attorney General of New York for Professional Fundraising, she is widely recognized as a leader in philanthropy. Her philanthropic career grew out of the life-shattering experience that led her to form Solutions from the Heart, an award-winning fundraising, event management, and consulting firm. Over the past decade, Linda has raised more than $30 million for charity. She has spearheaded countless groundbreaking events and fundraising campaigns, including the star-studded ARTrageous and Dream Extreme.
In addition to being honored with the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award, she has appeared on FOX, ABC, NBC’s “New York Nightly News,” and “CBS Morning News,” and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal. She holds the unique distinction of ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange as well as the NASDAQ opening and closing bells within the span of six months. Linda lives in New York City and has an incredible bond with her 28-year-old daughter Ashley.