Black History Month 2023

For the final week of Black History Month, Centurion celebrated the men and women we serve who have overcome unimaginable injustices and gone on to become leaders in their communities, and the voices of those who cannot yet speak for themselves.

Throughout this week, we posted on our social media pages highlighting their important work and their invaluable contributions to society.

Below are the men and women we have honored for 2023.

Click on the pictures to enlarge gallery.

Wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 10 years in Dallas, TX.

After her exoneration, Ms. Brown went on to establish Mothers (& Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems (M.A.S.S.), an organization that helped families of those incarcerated as well as parolees.

Ms. Brown’s work was far-reaching among families impacted by the Texas criminal justice system. Centurion clients Richard Miles and Ben Spencer, who were incarcerated together, credit Ms. Brown with helping them find Centurion and ultimately be obtaining their rightful freedom.

Joyce passed in September 2015, we love and miss her!

Wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years in Dallas, TX.

After his exoneration, Mr. Miles started Miles of Freedom, a not-for-profit organization with a mission is to equip, empower, and employ individuals returning home from prison and provide support and assistance for families and communities impacted by incarceration in Dallas, TX.

Thanks to Mr. Miles’ advocacy, in 2022, Texas enacted the Richard Miles Act requiring law enforcement to turn over all evidence and information in a case, including exculpatory evidence that may help prove a person’s innocence.

In 2019 Richard was one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2019.

We are very proud of the work Richard continues to do with MOF and the greater community!

Wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years in Los Angeles, CA.

After serving 27 years for a murder he did not commit, Mr. Pratt, a decorated Vietnam Veteran and member of the Black Panther Party, went on to serve as a human and civil rights activist for nearly 15 years until his passing in 2011. He worked tirelessly on behalf of other men and women who were wrongfully convicted.

Mr. Pratt’s final years were spent building wells for communities in rural Tanzania.

Wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years in Springfield, MA.

Not long after Mr. Schand was released from nearly three decades of wrongful imprisonment into the loving arms of his wife and children, he put his entrepreneurial spirit to work. In 2018, he opened Sweetwater Juice Bar & Deli in New Britain, CT. Ultimately his goal is for Sweetwater to provide employment and job training for individuals transitioning from incarceration to freedom.

Mr. Schand is the owner/partner of an additional small business as well as a mentor for young men in his community who want to become entrepreneurs.  He is also an outspoken advocate for prosecutorial accountability within the criminal justice system.

Wrongfully imprisoned for 39 years Baltimore, MD.

In the years since his release from wrongful incarceration, Mr. Lomax has used his voice to become a powerful, influential advocate for criminal justice reform in MD. He is the founder and leader of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative, which advocates for humane sentencing policies and a published author.

In 2021 The Walter Lomax Act, also known as Compensation to the Individual Erroneously Convicted, Sentenced, and Confined, was signed into law. This Act provides appropriate compensation for individuals who are erroneously convicted, sentenced and confined so they may enjoy a better quality of life when they re-enter society.

Today, Walter remains in Maryland and continues to be an advocate for criminal justice reform.

Photo 2 credit: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post

Wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years Baltimore, MD.

While wrongfully incarcerated, Mr. Austin spent time developing a passion for music that he continues to share with people across the world to this day. Today, Mr. Austin is a successful jazz and blues musician who has released multiple albums and performs for audiences throughout the country.

Mr. Austin works with young people in Baltimore City, where he provides music instruction to middle school students living in underfunded areas to ensure they can experience arts education through music. He has also traveled to Africa to provide music education to young people in their communities.

Michael resides in Maryland and continues to support his community through music.

Wrongfully imprisoned for 24 years in St. Louis, MO.

Mr. Burton transformed the injustice he suffered into a passionate drive to reach back and help others who were wrongfully convicted. He founded Miracle of Innocence, a not-for-profit organization focused on freeing the wrongfully imprisoned in the Kansas City, MO region, and supporting them as they rebuild their lives post-release.

Mr. Burton is also a Pastor at Church of the Resurrection, the Largest United Methodist Church in the country and a sought after motivational speaker who works to educate others about the plight of wrongful convictions.

Wrongfully imprisoned for 10 years Conroe, TX

The first man to walk off of death row in TX, Mr. Brandley narrowly escaped being executed for a crime he did not commit. Upon his release, he became a widely respected anti-death penalty advocate who spoke at forums all over the world. His personal testimony was a powerful argument for the elimination of the death penalty worldwide.

The 2002 movie “Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story” was based on his wrongful imprisonment.

Additionally, he was ordained as a Baptist minister who served his community until his passing in 2018.