Syrita’s vision of a Culture of Health is an empathetic and caring community that recognizes trauma and social inequity as the driving forces of crime that require community-based healing and holistic solutions. She believes that communities responding to crime should seek to restore and improve the lives of all people impacted by the criminal legal system, including those criminalized and those victimized by systems. Syrita’s work highlights mass incarceration as a public health issue that must be urgently addressed by recognizing the root causes of crime and criminalization while dismantling the economic and political incentives that encourage systems to grow at the cost of human lives and perpetual suffering.
Syrita believes that no policy or program should be designed without the leadership of formerly incarcerated people; thus, she focuses on uplifting the voices and experiences of formerly incarcerated women as experts, healers, and problem-solvers. She uses her platform to create pathways for other directly impacted women to enter the nonprofit sector because she knows from personal experience that women impacted by incarceration have a wealth of knowledge and leadership potential that is at best “untapped” and at worst diminished or ignored. Syrita is the founder and executive director of Operation Restoration, an organization created for and by formerly incarcerated women in New Orleans to support women and girls impacted by incarceration to recognize their full potential, restore their lives, and discover new possibilities. Her home state of Louisiana until recently incarcerated more people per capita than anywhere else in the world, which has a devastating impact on the overall health of our communities.
MORE ABOUT SYRITA
Syrita brings her personal experience, extensive knowledge, and unique perspective of the criminal legal system to her work. Syrita believes that mass incarceration further perpetuates health disparities. She advocates and demands for women to be included in conversations and decisions about their lives. She believes that in order to build a Culture of Health we must change the narrative and address incarceration as a public health issue. Syrita believes that no institution or system was designed for women and girls and that she has an obligation to dismantle systems that were never built for true inclusivity. She regularly speaks at conferences and facilitates conversations across the nation about the experiences of incarcerated women and the importance of true economic equity and what racial equity truly means.
SYRITA’S WORK AND VISION
- Top Female Achievers (MyNewOrleans.com)
- Fighting for change: 500 Women Scientists fellows reenvision a more just future (We Rep STEM)
- Innovators We Love: Syrita Steib-Martin (Pretrial Justice Institute)
- Syrita Steib of Operation Restoration honored as 2020 Angel (Blue Cross Louisiana Foundation)