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N.C. podcaster highlights prison-to-community success stories


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 foreight 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. 

He turned to education, reading all sorts of books and taking college courses. He looked within, working through the trauma of his childhood sexual abuse. He found a group of individuals behind bars that wanted to use their time productively as well. 





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