From Wrongful Incarceration to Nonprofit CEO
Kind and charismatic, Richard Miles is the Founder of Miles of Freedom, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people transition to life after prison. Richard founded the organization after spending 15 years in prison himself, for a crime he did not commit. His resilience to stay positive, hopeful, and maintain a servant leader attitude is remarkable, and he credit’s “God’s grace and Centurion Ministries [that his] innocence was recognized.”
Richard grew up in Dallas, went to Skyline High School, his father was a minister, and they had a lot of trust in the system. He grew up believing the police help you, so when we asked, “when people hear your story, what do you think surprises them the most?” Richard said “That people are actually innocent, that police officers can get it wrong and prosecutors can sometime be overzealous.”
Given that Richard was incarcerated when he was 19 years old, he finished his Associate’s Degree in prison and graduated from Trinity Community College. He says, “Learning gave me freedom.”
Instead of becoming hardened by his past, Richard pours his energy into creating an organization that helping hundreds of people each year. Miles of Freedom has a 3 month Job Readiness Workshop that is helping ex-prisoners get back on their feet – with training in financial literacy, resume building, and interviewing. They also assist with employment search and placement after completion of the workshop.
How can you help Miles of Freedom? Richard and his team has developed a social enterprise, a lawn care business called “Yard Services by Miles of Freedom” that helps fund the organization and give people in the program sometimes their first job out of prison. If you need help with your yard, they do cutting, edging, hedges, anything that deals with land maintenance. They can even help you start a garden. They have a fun motto of “Have grass? Will travel.” Richard says they could use help building their network with anyone looking for subcontractors.