Mick Gardner

Mick Gardner

Manager of C.O.V.E.R.

Mick Gardner is the President and Founder of Unfolding New Ideas Towards Yourself (U.N.I.T.Y), This organization's services components include Restorative Practices/Community, Trauma Responsive Education, Transitional Housing (in 2024), and a podcast “Changing the Narrative”. U.N.I.T.Y. conducts outreach and services to underserved populations, e.g., pre and post-release women, men and their families, veterans, the elderly, transgender, and the homeless.

He is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of No More Tears. Our services menu since 2002 includes a prisoner-guided, violence/crime prevention, restorative practices talking/healing circle, and reentry referrals/post-release support. This organization was inaugurated within California State Prison San Quentin. Today, our services have expanded to include youths and returning citizens in Alameda County.

In his 35-year tenure, he has amassed extensive experience as a program design consultant on in-prison/jail intervention models with restorative justice/practice/community, drug, alcohol, and infectious disease risk-reduction.

He has been involved in developing and evaluating direct service provisions for in-custody case management and post-release interventions. Additionally, he has been a pioneer in using inmate peer mentors and advisers to develop innovative and effective programs.

Mick has implemented multi-million-dollar projects in collaboration with federal entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources Services Administration, Department of Justice and Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration. In addition, Mick has partnered on several projects with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Mick's international efforts include co-facilitated training for the AIDS Foundation East/West in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Mick has often stated that adversity is the catalyst, elucidating humanity's very best and worst. He believes he is a facilitator of positive change and an ambassador for underserved communities. His leadership has exemplified the best that can come out of adversity with the highest degree of confidence.

Reentry Conference Event Page

10:30 am - 12:00 pm
HALL B | St. Mary's Cathedral - Event Center

Veterans Justice: Insights, Avenues and Solutions

Mick Gardner
Mick Gardner - Manager C.O.V.E.R. In-custody/Out-of-custody Program/Swords to Plowshares


Judge Michael Isaku Begert
San Francisco Veteran Justice Court and Superior Court Judge
Ron Self
Executive Director - Veterans Healing Veterans, Formerly Incarcerated
Megan O’Leary
(Staff) Attorney - Veteran Upgrade - Swords To Plowshares
Jenna Ferrara, LCSW
Veterans Administration - Veteran Justice Outreach Specialist
Tim Healy
Health Care Reentry Veterans - Peer Specialist, Formerly Incarcerated


This Veterans Justice Panel is a dedicated group comprised of legal experts, veterans' advocates, justice-impacted supervision, and representatives from relevant community-based and VA agencies. The purpose, of this panel presentation is to demonstrate the impact of collaborative service provisions that veterans receive and the fair treatment within the justice system as they address their unique legal challenges. The panel discussion will include issues such as access to legal services, diversion programs for veterans with mental health or substance abuse issues, understanding and navigating veterans' benefits, addressing life skills strategies for Veterans to gain during their in-custody tenure, and advocating for policies that support veterans' rights. Utilizing this collaboration with various stakeholders, our panel aims to promote justice, support, and rehabilitation for those who have served our country.