Skip to main content

Nicole Lindahl

Headshot of Nicole Lindahl

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Smullin 318
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301


Nicole Solomon Lindahl is a teacher, writer, and community organizer who has worked for the past 20 years to dismantle mass incarceration.  Her passion for transforming the US prison system was sparked when she served as a writing tutor inside San Quentin prison in 1998. From 2002 to 2006, she served as program director and writing instructor for the Prison University Project, a non-profit operating a free community college program for students incarcerated inside San Quentin.  From 2006 to 2008, she was assistant director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she led initiatives promoting higher education and entrepreneurship as pathways to successful reintegration. In 2016, she earned her Ph.D. in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from UC Berkeley, where she researched the life histories of men who committed violent crimes, served long prison sentences, and ultimately accessed higher education during or after their incarceration in California prisons.  Since 2016, she has worked as a community educator and organizer in Portland, OR in partnership with the Portland Underground Graduate School and community radio station    

Through this work, Nicole met her life partner Arnoldo Ruiz who served 19 years in Oregon prisons and works to address trauma and create opportunities for healing among systems-impacted youth. They are proud parents of a beautiful son, Sol.  


  • PhD, University of California-Berkeley

Facing Reentry Challenges: A Documentary

This documentary film project is spearheaded by a team of community members and formerly incarcerated people in partnership with the Portland Underground Graduate School and Open Signal, Portland’s public access television station.  In the film, formerly incarcerated individuals interview five people with shared experience about how they navigated the challenges they faced during their reintegration into the Portland area. The film is currently in the editing stage and is intended as an educational tool for people leaving prisons and jails, reentry service providers, and the general public.  


ALL RISE is a biannual, Portland, OR-based print magazine developed, written, and curated by currently and formerly imprisoned people. The first issue, I STILL EXIST, is set to launch in March 2020.

The Family Preservation Project “Welcome Wagon”

The Family Preservation Project (FPP) supports mothers who are incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon’s prison for women.  In 2017, in partnership with a group of students from the Portland Underground Graduate School, FPP launched a fundraiser for its "Welcome Wagon" project, the goal of which is to provide a warm welcome back into society to women releasing from Coffee Creek.  This Welcome Wagon is envisioned as a cargo trailer beautifully renovated into a mobile boutique with a dressing room, new clothes and cosmetics, a hairstylist chair, and fresh coffee. The Welcome Wagon will be run by formerly incarcerated women who have lived experience and expertise of navigating re-entry and is projected to serve approximately 20 women released from Coffee Creek each month.  For more on the project and why it matters, listen to Nicole’s interview with Jessica Katz, executive director of FPP, and Ebony Howard, a certified recovery mentor, and FPP graduate, on this episode of’s Prison Pipeline Show.

Willamette University

Department of Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics

Smullin Hall 3rd floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6293 voice
503-370-6720 fax