These social entrepreneurs aren't just working to reform the criminal justice system - they're a product of it too.
America's criminal justice system currently housed more than 2 million people - that's more per capita than any other nation on earth. Even worse: Many are repeat offenders who haven't been offered the support or resources to get their lives back on track once released.
A new initiative, backed in part by the singer John Legend, is hoping to reverse those dire statistics. Unlocked Futures is a joint project of the philanthropic fund New Profit, Bank of America and Legend's own nonprofit, FreeAmerica.
Over the course of 16 months, the accelerator, which recently announced its inaugural class, will provide support, funding and mentoring to eight people chosen for their visionary prison-reform efforts. These social entrepreneurs have more in common than just a dedication to helping former inmates flourish on the outside: All of them have been either incarcerated themselves or impacted by the criminal justice systems in some way.
The initiative will support entrepreneurship as a powerful pathway out of the incarceration cycle, which costs America $ 80 billion a year in hard dollars and untold billions more in its negative impact on vulnerable families and communities. By amplifying organizations built by those whose lives have been rocked by the judicial system, Unlocked Futures also hopes to change public perception about the humanity and potential of people who refuse to be defined by their worst mistake.
To read more of Helaina Hovitz' article, please click here.