After 23 years, Kendrick Johnson returned home. He was finally able to visit his family and community in Baton Rouge, which seemed like a dream fulfilled. Louisiana's incarceration rate leads the nation as the state imprisons more people per capita than any other state or country in the world, with one out of every 86 adults behind bars. Due to Kendrick's lengthy prison sentence, he was serving a de facto life sentence in prison with no opportunity for parole. Thanks to the passage of a new parole reform in Louisiana, Johson was afforded a second chance at pursuing a better life and received an opportunity to work at our firm.
At CSRS, our work descends deeper than the engineering and consulting solutions we deliver to clients. Our tagline, "building stronger, smarter communities together," includes our commitment to developing people and talent spanning our company and the communities we serve. Kendrick Johnson was awarded a second chance and joined our team as an administrative assistant to help us complete daily operational tasks. "I am thankful for my placement here at CSRS, and I want to continue being the best person I can be," explains Kendrick.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, Kendrick graduated from Istrouma High School in 1988. Upon graduation, he obtained a scholarship to Jackson State University and had numerous academic opportunities. Unfortunately, a few issues in life altered Kendrick's trajectory, and he was incarcerated. "Incarceration can weigh heavily on a family. I got into some trouble and had to serve time," explained Kendrick.
After serving 23 and half years, Kendrick was released on December 16, 2021. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like the Louisiana Parole Project, VOTE, and First 72+, he crossed paths with CSRS President Tim Barfield and CEO, Principal Michael Songy, PE, PLS.
Since being released, Kendrick Johnson has been an advocate for prison reform. On November 3, 2022, he attended an event at the LSU Law Center to discuss the benefits of bipartisan criminal justice reform hosted by Gov. John Bel Edwards. The discussion also included several formerly incarcerated people, elected officials, representatives from the Parole Project, Huey, and Angelina Wilson Foundation, and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, among others. Many of the ten bills that comprised the criminal justice reform package took effect on November 1, 2017. The governor said the bills reoriented Louisiana's criminal justice system to focus resources on violent crime and helped drastically reduce the state's prison population.
Today, Kendrick Johnson is making up for the lost time by taking on tasks and executing them with precision here at CSRS. "Interacting with everyone here is an absolute privilege. I've never worked in a corporate setting, and it's been fun to embrace new technology, training, and learning methods," says Kendrick. When not working in the office, Kendrick enjoys landscaping, studying horticulture, and hopes to open a landscaping business soon.