Episode 44

The Prison Post #44 Terah Lawyer-Harper, Executive Director, CROP Organization featuring Ken Oliver

Published on: 31st January, 2022

Super excited for today’s show with Terah Lawyer-Harper and Ken Oliver. Two leaders who have tremendous stories of incarceration, transformation, resilience, social impact, and entrepreneurial leadership. They are the workforce development gurus and and are transforming the landscape of reentry. The results are transformed lives and healing communities. Ken was CROP's former Executive Director and passes the torch of leadership to Terah on the show with profound respect and trust.

Terah Lawyer-Harper is CROP Organization’s new Executive Director. She was previously an Associate Director at Impact Justice. At Impact Justice, Terah developed and led the organization’s groundbreaking Homecoming Project, a $3.5M housing innovation project that paired people returning home after long prison sentences with welcoming community hosts. She received national and state recognition for her innovation and impact in the Bay Area. Lawyer-Harper is a Young Professional of Color Fellow with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, an alumnus Next Generations Fellow with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, and a former elected chairperson for the Beyond Incarceration Program inside CDCR’s Central California Women’s Facility. She spent 15 years incarcerated during which she became a certified peer health educator, a drug and alcohol counselor, earned two bachelor’s degrees and started a national nonprofit to provide correspondence courses to people incarcerated in prisons.

I’ve gotten to know Terah over the last three months and I can tell our audience that our team is excited to have her as our new Executive Director: She’s passionate, ambitious, innovative, solution-orientated, forward thinking, and a social connector/networker. She’s warm, attentive, and approachable. She has a strong moral compass and is courageous. She’s professional, articulate, and a born leader. She takes pride in her efforts with great energy and focus. Our team loves her inclusive leadership style. She’s driven by her purpose and all the while she still finds time to invest in the most important aspects of her life: her family, her friends, and her community.

Terah is active in the leadership of numerous civic and community organizations. She is spokeswoman for the Drop the Life Without the Possibility of Parole campaign and a member of California’s Prison Focus Board of Directors. She is featured in A New Way of Life testimonial series and actively volunteers with local organizations, including Fair Housing Initiative, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, All of us or None, Prison Focus, Project Homeless Connect, and Restorative Justice Reentry Conference.

Originally from the Bay Area, Lawyer-Harper holds three undergraduate degrees in business administration, management and social and behavioral science. Terah Lawyer-Harper will be based at CROP’s headquarters in Oakland, CA.

We just dropped a Press Release that share more of her story. Learn more about Terah on the front page of CROP Organization's website: https://croporganization.org/

Ken is the former Director of Business Development and former Executive Director at CROP Organization. Today, he is the Executive Director of the Checkr Foundation and Co-Chairman of CROP’s Board. Ken was incarcerated for over 25 years including spending over 8 years in solitary confinement. Today, he is a proximate leader in criminal justice reform, reentry architecture, workforce development, and inclusive impact strategy. He’s passionate about leveling the playing field to maximize potential and possibility for justice involved people. Ken is solution driven and adamant about kicking in doors of access to tech and desegregating opportunity, the future of work, and economic mobility for marginalized communities. As a servant/leader, he approaches this work with an insistence on human-centered solutions and embraces our communities' most pressing challenges. Ken was also the host The Prison Post’s Policy hour. Learn more about Ken and the work he's doing at Checkr at https://checkr.com/

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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.