A couple of days ago I found out about something called the Startup Rally which took place at the Biltmore Hotel in midetown. Dozens of entrepreneurs stood behind nicely decorated tables and explained the business that grew out of their "light-bulb" moments. Being a startup entrepreneur myself, I thought it would be very beneficial to meet like minds and people who are interested in investing. As always with Atlanta, I got much more than I anticipated.
Every table was replete with the innovative ideas which utilize technology to make our lives easier. There was one among the others, however, that stood out to me.
The Pentorship Program is a non-for-profit organization that seeks to remember society's forgetten and ignored. It is rehabilative service which educates inmates about entrepreneurship, connects them with "pentors" (mentors), including faith-based leaders, and helps them launch successful and redeemed lives once they leave incarceration. The program was created to offer business education and mentorship to inmates at the end of their sentences. On the website, it declares, "Now is the time to explore innovative ways to stop the revolving door."
What I like about the Pentorship Program is that it fights recidivism at its core. Recently released individuals often find themselves in situations where they are forced to return to their known methods of survival. If they are given resources and are surrounded by positive individuals, it goes without saying that they have higher odds for success in turning their lives around. "There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in the US. Annually we spend nearly $60 billion for that cost. Within the state of Georgia a 1% reduction in recidivism is equal to $7 million in cost savings", says executive director and founder Kristen Daniel.
Daniel is a native Atlantan who has taught English in Korea and Chile, and has started several companies. A young entrepreneur that minds the reality of the day, Daniel has chosen to apply intelligence ad talent to solve a real problem that often appears to have no immediate working solution.
Daniel says that even if you do not have a loved one in the criminal justice system you are likely to be touched by the recidivism in terms of lost public funds that go to the highly privatized incarceration industry. "[That money] could go to a public boarding school or new sidewalks." Unfortunately, policy is influenced greatly by lobbying. Apparently prison contractors that have an incentive in longer sentences for mild criminal acts also have the dollars to lobby government officials. On the other side of the blame gamut is ourselves. The massess praise a felon culture, and gangsterism, gangster rap, and consumerism all pave the road for so many individuals to end up in jail.
My particular interest in incarceration studies and application is the parity of argument that it gives to boarding schools, a cause for which I am a strong advocate. Daniel put it right: "Would you rather pay for a public boarding school now and call it an investment or a public boarding school later and call it an expenditure?"
Please visit the Pentorship Program and sign up to volunteer to be a pentor today!!!