Very few people have found themselves on both ends of the word, “justice”. Zeus Luby happens to be one of those individuals. When he was 17 years old, he was wrongfully detained and charged with two felonies. The correction of a typing error and the expungement of his record took seven years of legal battles with the authorities.
“I was the one telling my buddies that they needed to stop selling drugs and stop breaking into cars, as I didn’t want to see them locked up,” Luby told The Atlanta Voice during a recent interview. “I was looked at as the voice of reason, my nickname in high school was grandpop.”
Originally from West Philadelphia, Luby’s mother moved him and his brother down to Georgia for a better life. Growing up Luby would face adversity after adversity trying to stay off the wrong path. Despite those efforts he would eventually find himself on the other side of the system and decide that he wasn’t going to let what happened to him happen to others. Luby began working as the director of programming with Rehabilitation Enables Dreams, a metro-Atlanta based restorative justice initiative. The program works with district attorneys in local counties for the selective programs.
Most often Black men and women are put in position to serve time or be found guilty of crimes they have not committed.
In a report by The University of Michigan, published in 2022, 3,200 defendants who were convicted of crimes in the United States before being found to be innocent were listed as 53% Black.
In a system that is hard to beat, Luby presents hope to the hopeless during their time of need. Mass incarceration is an issue that requires a multifaceted solution. While there is no single answer to the problem, reducing the number of people in prison and improving the conditions for those who are incarcerated should be a priority for society as a whole, Luby said.