Prison to Promise podcast amplifies the voices of formerly incarcerated individuals

May 18, 2023

“At age 19, Craig Waleed had just entered a New York state prison. He was angry and afraid.

“As Waleed explains, he’d fallen in love with the streets and their offerings — enamored with the gangs, bars and drugs. Observing the behavior in his neighborhoods, he thought it was the way Black men needed to conduct themselves, so that’s what he emulated.

“In high school, Waleed quit sports and turned to drugs and alcohol of all kinds. He started to commit crimes to get money to pay for his substance use. Eventually, an assault landed him in prison for eight years.

“Early into his sentence, he knew he didn’t ever want to return to prison — the strip searches, the confines of a cell, the dehumanization.

“Waleed realized he needed to chart a new path. …

“Now 52, he’s a married father of two boys living in Raleigh. He has earned four degrees, including a doctorate. He’s written three books. He is project manager for Unlock the Box, a campaign against solitary confinement, at Disability Rights NC.

“He’s on a mission to show others that successful reentry to society is possible. That’s the goal of his weekly podcast, Prison to Promise.”

Read the full story at

(Photo above courtesy of Craig Waleed)

Listen to Leading with Conviction 2022 graduate Philip Cooper on the Prison to Promise podcast:

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