Giving Compass’ Take:
• Motherboard explains how Unlocked Futures, a 16-month accelerator created by New Profit, helps fund startups for formerly incarcerated individuals to help others stay out of prison and adjust back into the community.
• How can programs like Unlocked Futures be scaled? Those in the criminal justice sector should look at this accelerator model and see if it can apply to other affordable housing and employment programs for those facing hardships after prison.
When Teresa Hodge received a seven-year sentence for mail fraud, she vowed to become an expert on the prison experience. “I observed prison,” Hodge says. “I watched women come in, I watched women leave, and I watched some women come back.”
She filled her days learning about those around her, their lives on the outside, and what brought them to the cramped space at a federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia. She and her daughter, Laurin Leonard, now 33, brainstormed ideas in the visitor’s room, wondering what would allow these women to reclaim their lives. “This became my life’s work,” she says. “I left prison 100 percent committed to building solutions that would help me and help other people.”
Hodge, who maintains she was wrongfully convicted, was released in 2012, after serving five years and eight months for a first-time offense. And she founded Mission: Launch, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that works with financial institutions to help formerly incarcerated people access loans and start businesses.
Her work is supported by Unlocked Futures, a 16-month accelerator formed by venture philanthropy fund New Profit and backed by Bank of America. It annually supports eight entrepreneurs impacted by the criminal justice system, whose business models offer services such as affordable housing and employment assistance to other people with records.
Read the full article about Unlocked Futures keeping people out of prison by Mary Mazzoni at Motherboard.
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