Marriam Oliver joined the Washington Innocence Project in 2022 as the Program & Operations Assistant. She was incarcerated for 20 years after being convicted and sentenced as an adult when she was 14 years old. She received an early release and came home in 2021.
While incarcerated at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW), Marriam made good use of her time. In 2014 she became a founding member of Freedom Education Project of Puget Sound (FEPPS), a non-profit that provides access to college education for incarcerated women in Washington state and creates pathways to higher education after release from prison. In 2017, she received her Associate of Arts Degree from Tacoma Community College through FEPPS. Also in 2017, she became a certified, trauma-informed yoga teacher through a training program offered by Yoga Behind Bars (YBB). She now co-facilitates yoga workshops for YBB in juvenile facilities throughout the state of Washington. In 2015 while at WCCW, Marriam gave a Ted Talk entitled “Coming to a Neighborhood Near You” in which she focused on breaking down commonly held stereotypes about incarcerated people.
Marriam is committed to serving system-impacted community members regardless of guilt or innocence. She believes every stakeholder in our community must have the willingness to hear, listen and respect each other’s background and experience in order to have a community of equality, especially when reimagining policing and justice. As part of this commitment, Marriam shares her story and experience to new recruits of the Seattle Police Department through The If Project, a non-profit that brings together incarcerated and formerly incarcerated folks, community partners and law enforcement to focus on the reduction and prevention of incarceration and recidivism.