Kenneth Gourlay
Kenneth Gourlay

Kenneth Gourlay began his life in the suburban midwest. The first child of a loving couple who came of age in the midst of the civil rights movements of the 1960s, Kenneth developed a privileged liberal worldview. Kenneth followed his parents’ academic footsteps, graduating from the University of Michigan in 2001, and began a career in Internet software and services. His life took a sharp turn around 2004 when he was accused, tried, and imprisoned for sex crimes involving a consenting teenager. After spending eleven years behind bars, Kenneth refocused his life on social justice and bringing awareness to problems related to overcriminalization, mass incarceration, and the culture of retribution. He is now pursuing a graduate degree in the sociology of sex and gender at Wayne State University.

As he enters a new career trajectory, Kenneth has a valuable and unique story to tell showing how his experience with incarceration shaped his values for the future.

Kenneth is the author of a memoir styled as a self-help book, Lessons Learned: Life-Altering Experiences of Incarceration, and he hosted The Unspeakable Vice Podcast, a conversation about the barriers to talking openly and honestly about sex.

Kenneth is currently a member of local social justice organizations Michigan Citizens for Justice, Friends of Restorative Justice, and the Voting Access for All Coalition. He also finds peace in simply being, with Still Mountain Buddhist Meditation Center.

Kenneth Gourlay paddling his canoe
Kenneth is frequently spotted paddling his one-man cedar strip canoe.