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I Just Laugh

In this episode, Aaron guides us through his journey home using food as a metaphor, from his time inside to his first jobs as a line cook, to his two stone fire pizza ovens at home now. He laughs off stories of social snafu from his first months out and provides addiction-specific advice for colleagues in recovery.


Aaron Suganuma is Director at A Brighter Way, a mentoring and social support program for men and women returning to Washtenaw County from incarceration. He also works as a prison-based substance abuse counselor and is an Advisory Board Member for the Youth Justice Fund.  For three years, he was the Coordinator for Nation Outside, an organization that focuses on elevating the voice of formerly incarcerated people at the policy-level of the criminal justice reform movement where he remains as a Steering Committee member. Aaron attended Eastern Michigan University's School of Social Work, where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees. He was a founding member of the EMU Students for Recovery group. Released in 2009, he completed his associate’s degree from Washtenaw Community College while serving 4.5 years in prison.

He is passionate about helping people to find their freedom – from incarceration and substance abuse, through policy, community organizing, and individual work.

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A Brighter Way is a mentoring and social support for people returning from incarceration

Nation Outside is a criminal justice policy advocacy that brings formerly incarcerated people, their families, and allies together and to the policy-making table