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Joe Loya
Mentor-Editor, The OpEd Project

Joe Loya is an author, essayist, playwright, and contributing editor at the Pacific News Service. His op-eds on politics, religion, criminal justice issues, and other cultural events have appeared in national newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Newsday, and the San Francisco Chronicle. As a young man, he moved from a violent home life to a life of crime, robbing over 25 banks in the state of California before he was eventually arrested and sent to prison. During seven years in prison, including two in solitary confinement, Joe examined his past and began to re-write his life story, figuratively and literally. With the prize-winning Mexican American writer Richard Rodriguez as a pen pal and an inspiration, Joe eventually left prison and became a writer. His memoir, The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell, was published in September 2004 by HarperCollins, to high acclaim.