Texas has graduated more than 2,000 individuals from a prison entrepreneurship program. Upon release, some of these graduates have gone on to create more than 350 businesses in their local communities, according to The Crime Report.
All 2000 of the individuals who graduated from Texas’ Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) were employed or self-employed within 90 days of their release from jail. Most of them have retained their employment for more than a year after obtaining the positions.
The program has a low 7 percent recidivism rate for all graduates in a three-year period. This is in comparison to the 23 percent recidivism rate for all other inmates released in Texas during the same time, according to the article.
These statistics have prompted new talks about the need for people released from prison or local jails to have the opportunity to participate in technology-driven programs, ones that will enable them to gain employment which low-wage positions that offer little opportunity to advance, according to the article.
The Crime Report noted that policy makers can help victims, communities, families and incarcerated individuals by updating job skills while they are incarcerated.
If jails train inmates in utilizing online platforms and hold training classes on entrepreneurship, inmates will build marketable skills. Even jails without a class program can schedule seminars by the Inmates to Entrepreneurs organization or similar groups. Volunteers from local businesses could teach classes, too.
Such future-changing programs can teach inmates how to create a start-up business and successfully manage a business once released, according to the article.
Many local jail and prison programs now offer training and work-release programs.
Yet they fail in training inmates about modern technology, and that limits the post-release opportunities for employment, according to the article.
Programs like PEP in Texas show how successful such programing can be. In the year 2018, data collected on PEP showed a 794 percent return on each dollar that was invested in the program during a five-year period. PEP also saved the state of Texas and federal government around $4.3 million dollars in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the article.
The Crime Report stressed that such data suggests that all prisons and local jails will have a lower recidivism rate and increase public safety by teaching incarcerated individuals about the role of modern technology in today’s jobs. This enhanced training will offer them a better chance to build and establish their future financial security.