From Prison to Purpose


Monday, February 26, 2024
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Session Type: Workshop

A main session delivered by one of the most powerful speakers you will ever hear. Michael DeLeon served 12 years in prison for a gang-related homicide. He takes you on a journey from Trauma (which he has coined the first gateway drug), through addiction, to incarceration, to redemption. There is unheard-of tragedy, indescribable pain, and bitter struggles in this story. It could've ended his life. It ended his freedom. However, it was in prison where he found his purpose. His involvement in the Scared Straight program charted his new course and he took his second chance to overcome every obstacle he faced upon his release. Despite many doors being slammed in his face, he never gave up. He is now the #1 booked youth presenter in America.


Michael DeLeon
Co-Founder/CEO, Steered Straight, Inc.

Michael R. DeLeon, a successfully acclimated ex-offender who, after 20 years of drug addiction and 8 years of crime and gang involvement, spent 12 years in state prison and halfway houses for a gang-related homicide. Since Michael’s release from prison, he has earned three associate degrees, a Baccalaureate Degree in Business Management, with a minor in Criminal Justice and a CADC Educational Certificate. Michael is now in the process of obtaining his master’s degree in Addictions Counseling at Liberty University as well as pursuing his LCADC. Michael is the founder of Steered Straight, Inc. A non-profit organization formed in 2007 designed with the intention of carrying a prevention message to youth and young adults regarding the extreme dangers of adolescent drug and alcohol use, bullying, and unhealthy life-choices. He is also a national speaker on the prevention of gang-involvement and criminal activity. Michael spends his time developing Steered Straight by stressing the importance of young men and women making sound, rational decisions in their day to day lives. Michael founded the Project Pride Program while incarcerated in prison. After pitching the idea for this program to then Commissioner Jack Terhune, he worked to develop the message that consequences can be severe and life-lasting. Project Pride, which is still in existence at the New Jersey Department of Corrections, is the largest prison outreach program in America. Michael has spoken to over twelve million students and young adults as a motivational speaker, delivering evidence-based student programs in all fifty states in America. In 2014, Michael became the #1 booked school presenter in America speaking at over four hundred schools and facilities. He has remained the #1 booked school presenter every year peaking with 708 schools and facilities in 2019. Covid forced Steered Straight to adapt into a fully virtual program for most of 2020 and now Steered Straight is the only fully live impact program and fully virtual impact program providing hybrid and continuing education in both formats in the country.