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-   -   Programs for ex-felon entrepreneurs (http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=707262)

Babyx 11-06-2017 10:54 AM

Programs for ex-felon entrepreneurs
 
I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but, one topic that comes up frequently in discussions with my husband is opportunities for employment post release. It's a ways off, given his sentence, but something we think about.

We've come to the conclusion that his record will be seriously problematic. However, he is brilliant with advanced degrees in engineering and finance. He sees a lot of wasted human capital behind bars and would like to do something to provide opportunities for those with a record.

I would be willing to back these initiatives. Perhaps there are agencies that would endorse this and provide support.

Where to start? I dunno, just thinking out loud at this point.

Minor activist 11-06-2017 11:29 AM

I've seen a few programs like that and they've all been just for one place. Worth studying how they work.

The National Incarceration Association (https://joinnia.com/) is a place to start, not with a "can you help" question, but with a "who do you know who could work with me on this" question.

On the practical side if you can line up insurance and bonding then that makes it easier for an employer.

If you've got a really cool state legislator you could angle for a startup grant or a contract.

GaReform 11-06-2017 11:32 AM

I think that's a great idea. There is amazing talent behind bars that when released need help putting those talents to work. I have found several groups trying to make a difference. You might research the National Incarceration Association (joinnia.com), Defy Ventures https://defyventures.org/, & Zerosixeight http://www.zerosixeight.org/ .
I don't know where you're located but there are other groups that want to help people have a successful 2nd chance. Your help is going to be appreciated by any group. I have lots more info on other groups if you need it.

Babyx 11-07-2017 10:14 AM

I, and any other investor, public or private, will want to see a solid business plan. Something to work on. In the meantime, perhaps get involved in education and training initiatives on the inside to cultivate a talent pool?

My husband, in the past, ran mentorship programs for newly minted MBAS at his company and has remarked that quite a few of the younger guys he has met behind bars are remarkably similar to those folks, just chose a different path due to circumstances. Whatever the end result, perhaps a positive step and worth pursuing.

Minor activist 11-07-2017 11:56 AM

Absolutely, I encourage you!

This is a good idea and it's needed.

Babyx 11-08-2017 10:30 AM

Hitting obstacles right away with parole restrictions. Barred from associations with ex-felons. Other restrictions. Yuck.

xolady 11-08-2017 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Babyx (Post 7677187)
Hitting obstacles right away with parole restrictions. Barred from associations with ex-felons. Other restrictions. Yuck.

I wonder if this can be gotten around basically the same way halfway housing and sober living situations.:hmm:

Babyx 11-08-2017 10:43 AM

Maybe just focus on training. DH bitches about antiquated and inefficient systems out of step with current technology and practices. Well, maybe get folks to improve, say, the search engine at the library. Yes, the current system is outdated and laughable. Train some promising young guys to fix that. Valuable skill for later, and perhaps you get a better search tool while you're in. Never mind the 70 cents an hour, yes insulting and well below market rate for such work. Consider it volunteer work.

xolady 11-08-2017 10:52 AM

Well I know the good intentions are there but its not a very rewarding objective. I know you want to help him but maybe if he focus's on his life and improving it rather then helping others improve theirs he might be more successful with this.

Babyx 11-08-2017 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xolady (Post 7677193)
Well I know the good intentions are there but its not a very rewarding objective. I know you want to help him but maybe if he focus's on his life and improving it rather then helping others improve theirs he might be more successful with this.

We are thinking about life after incarceration, for him. The options are pretty bleak. Maybe a more entrepreneurial approach is needed, but there are significant obstacles. A big aspect of a successful enterprise is cultivating a talent pool. Perhaps a focus on that. At least it's more productive than other pursuits.

xolady 11-08-2017 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Babyx (Post 7677196)
We are thinking about life after incarceration, for him. The options are pretty bleak. Maybe a more entrepreneurial approach is needed, but there are significant obstacles. A big aspect of a successful enterprise is cultivating a talent pool. Perhaps a focus on that. At least it's more productive than other pursuits.

Unless your depending on your own talent, and maybe start out small. Because of having a record lot's of fields are no longer an option. That doesn't mean you can't learn new skills and use them.

Babyx 11-08-2017 11:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Babyx (Post 7677196)
We are thinking about life after incarceration, for him. The options are pretty bleak. Maybe a more entrepreneurial approach is needed, but there are significant obstacles. A big aspect of a successful enterprise is cultivating a talent pool. Perhaps a focus on that. At least it's more productive than other pursuits.

Just in general, a focus on helping others is tremendously helpful for him. He's done well helping his cellie cope with the aftermath of major surgery while incarcerated. It's a good direction to pursue, as far as I can see. Better than the alternative.

Minor activist 11-08-2017 11:28 AM

Oh, this is going to be uphill work. You're still right to push it.

Some parole officers make some exceptions to the rules about associating with felons when they can see that it's part of keeping people out of trouble. How have the other post-prison jobs programs handled that issue?

xolady 11-08-2017 11:43 AM

My point is focusing on helping others doesn't help him and frankly he needs to help himself. I kind of understand what your dealing with and I know his intentions are good, but if he is just putting his strengths into others he won't accomplish what he needs to do for himself. Basically the same approach you'd use in drug treatment or any 12 step kind of program. You can't fix others without fixing yourself.

Babyx 11-08-2017 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Minor activist (Post 7677204)
Oh, this is going to be uphill work. You're still right to push it.

Some parole officers make some exceptions to the rules about associating with felons when they can see that it's part of keeping people out of trouble. How have the other post-prison jobs programs handled that issue?

Good question.

There needs to be support from outside/ gov sponsored agencies to address this. Otherwise it's a no - go.

Minor activist 11-08-2017 06:24 PM

I'm getting into total guesswork here. Any of the lawyers here are welcome to provide a reality check.

Those conditions of probation are imposed by the judge? Usually boilerplate?

Could judges be urged to write conditions of probation to permit pursuing lawful employment and business with people who have records?

Developing a talent pool includes education. Here's some people who've been making a go of it for years: http://postprisonedu.org/pages/1/about-us/ It's not the same problem you're working on but I bet they've had to fight some of the same issues you will.

xolady 11-08-2017 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Minor activist (Post 7677351)
I'm getting into total guesswork here. Any of the lawyers here are welcome to provide a reality check.

Those conditions of probation are imposed by the judge? Usually boilerplate?

Could judges be urged to write conditions of probation to permit pursuing lawful employment and business with people who have records?

Developing a talent pool includes education. Here's some people who've been making a go of it for years: http://postprisonedu.org/pages/1/about-us/ It's not the same problem you're working on but I bet they've had to fight some of the same issues you will.

Hey Minor this is the same person who was giving out commissary as rewards for those who walked away from troubling situations. The whole idea is good but not for this particular inmate at this time. OP might want to feed his delusions but I don't.

Babyx 11-15-2017 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xolady (Post 7677359)
Hey Minor this is the same person who was giving out commissary as rewards for those who walked away from troubling situations. The whole idea is good but not for this particular inmate at this time. OP might want to feed his delusions but I don't.

Yeah, he may be delusional at the moment, but he does have a successful track record and a resume. Brilliant, but fragile, mind. I do maintain hope that he will return to his former self. If so, then what? I've seen the better side for 20+ years. The creature he has become is the aberration. I have hope.

xolady 11-15-2017 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Babyx (Post 7679013)
Yeah, he may be delusional at the moment, but he does have a successful track record and a resume. Brilliant, but fragile, mind. I do maintain hope that he will return to his former self. If so, then what? I've seen the better side for 20+ years. The creature he has become is the aberration. I have hope.

I am not saying there's no hope but I would encourage him in way's that help him. Right now his goals should be focus on himself not others. :)

Minor activist 11-15-2017 03:32 PM

>would like to do something to provide opportunities for those with a record.

That could be many different things. Narrowing it down needs to be done early on.

Making inspiring speeches to donors, negotiating with insurance companies, identifying talented people from the prison -- each of those takes a different skill set and there's every reason to have more than one person on board. Picking winners is something that a mentally ill person can do. I've known several m.i. people who were among the most perceptive I've ever met.

TTTy 12-04-2017 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Minor activist (Post 7677351)
I'm getting into total guesswork here. Any of the lawyers here are welcome to provide a reality check.

Those conditions of probation are imposed by the judge? Usually boilerplate?

Could judges be urged to write conditions of probation to permit pursuing lawful employment and business with people who have records?

I'm on federal probation and I work at a job with many other felons. My PO is ok with it and I'm allowed to develop personal relationships with my felon co-workers as long as I provide her with their information.

From what I understand, the whole "no contact with other felons" thing is taken on a case by case basis.

I don't think it's too smart to go into business with the people you met in prison. Yeah, there's wasted talent in there but the way people act in prison is not the way they act outside.

ttexrbomb 12-28-2017 04:05 PM

Programs for ex-felon entrepreneurs
 
I started a wedding photography and event planning business with my wife. It has afforded my family with a very comfortable life. We are homeowners and have nice things. We are able to do nice things for our children too. Our business makes in the 6 figures. So entrepreneurship is definitely an option for you and you can be very successful.

On another note, I just passed my medical to become a pilot. The FAA considers past criminal conduct as a potential mental issue that may be disqualifying. They view criminal conduct as potentially having a personality disorder. After all, you donít want somebody with a strong reservations to obeying the law flying airplanes. So a one time issue is easier to overcome then if you have multiple convictions. And I was able to overcome that as well. I now hold a class 2 medical certificate which allows me to fly commercially once I get a commercial rating.

The skyís the limit. Go for it.

Rickpnj 01-17-2018 11:48 AM

Just my two cents, I would suggest going into the available work force until the supervised release is clear. It may not be well paying, satisfying or rewarding but coming off of paper and being able to do whatever you want and when you want is worth every bit of frustration. I have been in the same career since I was 18, was an assistant VP of operations when I became greedy which lead to my fraud charges. I ended up making many more mistakes pre sentencing which ended up getting me 6.5 years in the Feds with concurrent 5 year sentences in two states. No camp for me and a trip to some medium and high facilities due to points and such. Anyway, when I started my first job from the halfway house, I was surrounded by former inmates. Some were blatant about their choice to go right back to what they were doing while others were slick. One guy I had met in transit twice while in and ended up in the same halfway house and eventually at the same job with was pretty much my sidekick. We talked about starting a business and he began using some of his connections to get it going. Well, long story short, he was a great con guy and hes back in for another 8 year rip. Luckily I got a bad vibe and decided to wait until post paper to do any business with another felon. Now, all the ones I would have done business with, thought were solid and looked forward to working together with to better our lives are back in prison or dead. Blunt but true. I would seriously consider getting out, doing whats best for him (and YOU) then after he is free and clear worry about being in business with or around other felons. It's not worth it. Again, just my two cents. And for the record, I have tried numerous times to help people in the halfway house with employment with very minimal success. I am not lumping everyone together just saying, I am looking for people that want an opportunity and are willing to capture it! Best of luck.

sr3131 01-30-2018 01:01 PM

I would be careful when dealing with any person he met inside. I taught a Business Plans class and saw some good ideas, some not so good ideas and got to know a lot of people because of that. Most first timers want to help people in that situation; however, the federal government makes it extremely difficult, although not impossible.

So, the two problems I've seen are other inmates and the federal government.

My advice is that he focus on himself and his family, first and foremost. There are many, many husslers in prison and talk a good talk; however, there's a high recidivism and re-entry rate for a reason, these people hussle outside and inside prison and break laws no matter where they are.

I had several people want to do work with me outside and I've yet to even consider it. One, because I'm still on probation and will not jeopardize my freedom for any of those people and two, I just don't trust 99% of them to do anything correctly.

Take it for what it's worth and I hope he realizes where he is and the people with whom he's surrouinded and take that into consideration.


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