Richard Miles accepting a CNN Heroes award.

Criminal Justice

Exoneree Richard Miles Receives a CNN Heroes Award

He spent 15 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. And he’s used his compensation to help inmates successfully re-enter society.

In 2009, Richard Miles was released from prison. It would be 2012 before the state of Texas deemed him actually innocent, clearing his name from a mid-1990s murder and attempted murder. Soon after, he lopped off a sizable chunk of his compensation check from the state and started the nonprofit Miles of Freedom, based at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in South Dallas.

Having gone through the difficult transition back to a life outside the bars, Miles wanted to help others in similar situations thrive. And he didn’t forget about those who had committed actual crimes, choosing to aim his work at all inmates re-entering society. Seven years later, his organization continues to provide re-entry resources and equip the formerly incarcerated with steady jobs. Miles, who I wrote about in 2016 for Longreads, remains one of the most inspiring people I’ve had the honor of talking to.

Which is why I was thrilled to see he received a CNN Heroes award last night. He gave a heck of a speech, as well. That and CNN’s telling of his story embedded below, a good way to start the week:

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