Today’s Honoree is Cedric Dean

Cedric Dean is an author, activist, founder of SAVE Programs and Save A Child Month. Mr. Mr. Dean is a federal prisoner and does his work from behind prison bars. And even in such adverse conditions under dire circumstances, Dean is still willing and committed to trying to help rebuild the communities he once helped to destroy. Cedric Lamonte Dean (born June 14, 1972) is an American author, activist, and educator. He is perhaps best known for writing the books “How to Save Our Children from Crime, Drugs and Violence” and “How to Stop Your Children from Going to Prison.” Dean is also the founder of SAVE (Safeguard Atone Validate Educate), which is a national prisoner led movement dedicated to preventing lawlessness and building character in misguided minds. Early Life Cedric Dean was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, to a single-parent Christian mother.

At 13 years old, Dean was rebirth into a new world of crime, drugs and violence. He had a short-lived stint as an armed robber of drug dealer. When he was sixteen, he was charged and convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, and he spent five and a half years in prison. Eleven months after his release in February 1994, Dean was charged in a six count federal indictment for Conspiracy to Distribute Crack Cocaine and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

He was convicted of the charges May 20, 1996 and sentenced to Life plus five years. Career Seven years into his second prison term, Dean was placed in a Special Housing Unit, where he was confined in a cell for 23 hours a day. With a lot of free time on his hands, he read an urban novel entitled: “B-More-Careful” by Shannon Holmes, who had also served time in prison. He enjoyed the book so much that, upon completion of reading it, he started writing a tale of his own (For the Love of the Streets). “Mine is the tale of someone whose faith in God, willingness to change, strength, and infatuation to overcome barriers, impediments, and unusual odds can be a blueprint for anyone on the path of death and self-destruction,” Dean wrote in his book “How to Save Our Children From Crime, Drugs and Violence,” a self-help book published in 2010. “Dean has himself crossed over the threshold of crime and violence to become the advocate for responsive change in our youth,” said Eugene Linwood, founder of Reaching Out Beyond Bars. “I have proudly watched him mentor, teach and apply tough love to redirect the pain, fears and uncertainty of young prisoners into courage, dedication and commitment.

Cedric has done what many people have tried to do with our youth but you must walk the walk and talk the talk.” When Dean entered the literary arena in 2002, he had very little to look forward to, serving life without parole. He read books on writing and studied the styles of established writers. He first enrolled in an inmate-taught Creative Writing Class. He completed that and went on to eventually teach a writing course of his own.

“I was also not supposed to become a teacher and transform gangsters into gentlemen inside of prisons,” Dean wrote, “but I made a promise to the people who helped me along the way that I would help others who are living like I used to live. I didn’t think it was possible for someone with a past like mine to be given the opportunity to teach anyone anything.” It was. And Dean’s teachings have helped hundreds of prisoners obtain their General Education Diploma and thousands more change their lives for the better.

“His ability to focus his energy in a positive way has set an excellent example for many of the younger inmates who look to him as a leader,” Lance Cole, a Federal Bureau of Prisons Supervisor of Education, said about Dean’s infectious energy and enthusiasm.

In 2009, Dean founded SAVE with the objective of helping all children with academic, behavior, and financial problems graduate from high school and become more employable. One year later, in 2010, he received the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ highest award – the Call to Service Award – becoming the first United States Penitentiary Lee inmate to receive such an honor. He was known throughout the prison as “A Leader’s Leader.” In late 2010, Dean reached for a wider audience by recording the first in a series of motivational speech presentations.

Dean said in his “I Have a Plan” speech. “My plan will SAVE – Safeguard Atone Validate and Educate our children. With this plan we will be able to teach our children how to live side-by-side and deal with their differences without malice or violence. With this plan we will take major steps to substitute the pipeline to prison with a pipeline to prosperity for many of our children.” Dean details his life and the relationships that have helped change him in his self published books.

Much more than an average incarcerated author, Dean’s self-help books which are divided into a series of written exercises in workbooks, focus on areas of peer pressure – such as bullying, anger management, and misguided thinking – as well as on areas of self-worth, such as self-confidence, courage, and character.

“I applaud you, even while serving time in prison, for stepping up and taking responsibility for helping find a solution,” Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education wrote to Dean.

In 2011, Dean collaborated with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and launched a replica of his SAVE program called RISE (Rehabilitate Integrate Stimulate Educate).”The hearts, souls, and minds of each of you can rise,” Dean wrote in a message to the youth. “Power is not in violence. Power is in your ability to use your mind. The more you think, the more powerful you become.”

In January 2012 Dean initiated the inmate family and friend Day in an attempt to have incarcerated men and women show their appreciation to their friends and family for their unwavering support. Singer/Songwriter Arthur Godfrey summed it best: “Throughout the centuries, authors have sent their spirits beyond the walls that bind them. In every case they give of themselves wisdom learned at tremendous cost.

Prison has not changed that for Cedric Dean. The harsh lessons of his life’s mistakes are seared deep upon his soul.” Dean’s Life sentence was reduced in 2009 to 420 months as a result of his exemplary work in stemming prison violence and changes in Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Crack Cocaine Offenders. He is currently working with his attorney to be released under the 2011 Retroactive Crack Guideline Amendment. He is still teaching GED and Adult Continuing Education classes for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and is currently enrolled in a Business Finance Class. He is currently serving time in FCI Butner Medium II in Butner, NC.

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2 Responses to Today’s Honoree is Cedric Dean

  1. BEA says:


  2. Tracy Papa says:

    Thank you for helping my son Justin with his efforts at obtaining stability with in the prison walls. You are my prayer that has been answered. Keep up the good work!

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