Reginald “Dwayne” Betts 

Million Book Project


​Dwayne Betts is a writer and attorney currently working on the Million Book Project to increase access to literature in prison by curating a 500-book Freedom Collection for every prison in America. Dwayne has been a federal law clerk for the Honorable Theodore McKee of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and spent a year in the New Haven Public Defender’s Office representing teenage clients and persons assigned to the gun docket. Appointed to the Connecticut’s Criminal Justice Commission, he is one of six commissioners responsible for hiring the state’s prosecutors. Under President Barack Obama, he served as a coordinating council member of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention where he served for 4 years. He has published A Question of Freedom, a memoir of his time in prison, and three collections of poetry: the recently published Felon, Bastards of the Reagan Era, and Shahid Reads His Own Palm. Among other honors, his writing has garnered a National Magazine Award, American Book Award, and two NAACP Image Awards. He has been a Radcliffe Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, National Endowment of Arts fellow, and Emerson fellow at New America. Dwayne is a Fellow of the third class of the Civil Society Fellowship, a Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.