THE ORIGINS OF RED
“In the bible, whenever Jesus speaks, his words are in RED.”
– David Lee Windecher – RED Founder.
During the process of becoming a lawyer and defending his character in the face of his criminal history, RED founder David Lee Windecher observed the racial thrust to criminal justice. He recognized that the color of his skin contributed to his ability to acclimate back into society and that African Americans and Hispanics in America are not treated with the same redemptive value within the legal system. This realization created guilt, which fueled David’s vision for RED.
In 2011, while attending law school, David became aware that criminal justice reform was becoming a conversation among contemporary government leaders. Governor Nathan Deal’s formation of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform piqued his attention. He began examining the findings and initiatives of this bipartisan, inter-branch council to redress the devastating financial burden of mass incarceration and the systemic racial disparity. The council’s mandates are to address the growth of the state’s prison population, contain corrections costs, and increase efficiencies and effectiveness that result in better department of corrections management, improve public safety by reinvesting a portion of the savings into strategies that reduce crime and recidivism, and to create accountability within the criminal justice system by strengthening community-based supervision, sanctions, and services.
David’s youthful experiences combined with his legal externship for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia gave him frontline exposure to the mishandling of nonviolent adolescents in the criminal justice system. He easily identified the focus on incarceration over rehabilitation as one of the root causes of recidivism and mass incarceration. At the same time, a body of compelling evidence was growing supporting restorative justice programs for non-violent offenses as a means of reducing racial disparity in law, crime and recidivism, while increasing public safety and alleviating the economic tax burden of incarceration. The blueprint for RED was born.