Episode 37

The Prison Post #37 Cornelius Edwards, Founder of Avatar, Incarcerated 26 Years

Published on: 9th September, 2021

The Prison Post #37 features my great friend, Cornelius Edwards. He was incarcerated for 26 years (1987-2012). He was one of the founders of what many people know today as "rehabilitative programming." It was an honor to have Cornelius on our podcast and we'll be recording part two this week. He was a visionary and trailblazer for those sentenced to life and because of him and others that followed his lead, today thousands and thousands of us sentenced to life are now free. He created a premiere literacy program in the late 90's, the first lifer support group in the early 2000's and the first parole readiness group for those with life sentences in 2012. His "Avatar" program included Board of Prison Hearings (BPH) Preparation, Post Board Denial Management, Post Incarceration Syndrome, Relapse Prevention Planning, Alternatives to Family Violence and they introduced the Board Portfolio to take to the BPH. He created this at a time when the window of opportunity for parole for those sentenced to life were barely opening up. He was found suitable 6 times, but Governor Gray Davis took three of those parole dates and Governor Schwarzenegger took two of those dates. He was finally set free after his 6th suitability.

Today Cornelius is passionate about providing workplace safety instruction and certifications to men and women currently employed; and pre-certifications to single parents, students, veterans, and formerly incarcerated people seeking entry level positions in the labor and food industries; in effect providing employers with knowledgeable candidates for future employment opportunities. Throughout his previous years of experience as a trainer/speaker and program developer he learned that safety and employment are cornerstones for building responsible people, safe workplaces, better communities, and productive lifestyles. He's passionate about empowering those who need a hand up and he is committed to leaving this earth better than he found it.

We welcomed Cornelius on The Prison Post Podcast because he is the epitome of someone who has reentered society as a responsible and thriving citizen. He is excelling today with two careers, a happy marriage, and he's done his fair share of travel all over the world.

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The Prison Post Podcast is a production of the CROP Organization. We exist to provide opportunities to transform lives and heal communities by creating integrated pathways to economic mobility, personal leadership, and civic engagement. Learn more about us at: https://croporganization.org/ and donate to our Signature Ready for Life Program by visiting the donation page on our website or texting CROP on 91999 or clicking this link: https://igfn.us/form/2OZxqw

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About the Podcast

The Prison Post
Transforming Lives and Healing Communities by Reimagining Reentry
The Prison Post is a podcast interviewing leaders in the criminal justice reform, restorative justice, and social justice movements. In addition, we share the transformational stories of the currently and formerly incarcerated and highlight what CROP Organization is doing by reimagining reentry for returning citizens.
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About your host

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Richard Mireles

With a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management from California Coast University, Richard is a dynamic public speaker and expert communicator with Advanced Leadership and Communication certifications with the world recognized Toastmasters International. Having spent over 21 years inside of CDCR, Richard made abundant contributions as a cofounder of the Inside Solutions think-tank and lead intern for the CROP Organization’s programs offered within institutions. An inspiring leader and powerful orator with over 35 transformational coaching seminars and workshops, Richard possesses the uncanny ability to capture a room's attention while conveying impactful messages to any audience. He has an advanced certification as an Alcohol and Other Drug counselor (receiving a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his contributions to the recovery community) and was the only known incarcerated person to earn the status of associate trainer for John Maxwell’s EQUIP Leadership and its Million Leader Mandate.