Tag Archives: Dignity

Feeling Peppy: Prison Entrepreneurship Program

3 Jan

The United States, being a nation of laws, must enforce them to keep our relative peace. By doing so prisons were created to house the varying degree of law breakers. Some of them are there for “small” crimes others for things much, much worse. Over half of those who are released commit a crime and go back to prison. As noted in Wikipedia, “A 2002 study survey showed that among nearly 275,000 prisoners released in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years, and 51.8% were back in prison.” [1]

The cycle habitual return to crime (ie. recidivism), is a problem for society as a whole. People who go to prison are rarely rehabilitated. This is a key to breaking the cycle of recidivism. Is there anything being done to creating the key? Enter the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, PEP.

PEP is a entrepreneurship program focused on refocusing the minds and hearts of men in prison. It takes the same basic business concepts they were using for their illegal businesses and refocuses them into creating legitimate business which actually contribute to their communities. From the About Us page on the PEP website [2]:

“… Former Wall Street investor Catherine Rohr founded PEP in May of 2004 when she toured a prison and noticed that executives and inmates had more in common than most would think. They know how to manage others to get things done. Even the most unsophisticated drug dealers inherently understand business concepts such as competition, profitability, risk management and proprietary sales channels. For both executives and inmates, passion is instinctive. …”

There is, of course, some initial and understandable skepticism of any program which claims to reform those who have been in prison. The Prison Entrepreneurship Program has the results to prove it is a legitimate and successful model. Some statistics from the Results page on the PEP site [3]:

3-Year Recidivism
Texas: Around 25%
PEP: Less than 5%

Within 30 days of release: 70%
Within 90 days of release: 100%
Average Starting Wage: $9.51/hour
Average Time to Find Job: 26 days

# PEP Graduate Businesses: At least 106

# PEP Transition Homes in Houston: 2
# PEP Transition Homes in Dallas: 1
Total Capacity of Homes: 41 beds
% Grads Released to PEP Housing: 65%

Outreach in 2011
Family Members Visiting Prison: Nearly 400
Executive Volunteers in Prison: Over 400
Business Plan Advisors: Over 200

Where prisons are failing, PEP is succeeding. The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is setting a model for others to use and implement. It is also raising the standard for real rehabilitation of those in prison. The net results are more than financial. The healing of families and raising children with solid morals and values makes society better and stronger.

Not every person in prison is able to get into the PEP program. There will always be those in the prison system who are beyond rehabilitation and need to stay behind bars for the safety of society and themselves. But for those who truly want to change, who have the potential to give something back to a society they were harming, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program is a key to changing the game of repeat offenders.

I highly encourage everyone to look into the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and spread the word. If we, as a people, want to see real changes to those who have violated the laws of the land more programs like PEP are a very good place to start.

References –

  1. Incarceration – Wikipedia
  2. About Us – PEP Website
  3. Results – PEP Website

Words Mean Something: Sheila Jackson Lee Talks but Says a Lot of Nonsense

13 Dec

This woman  is an embarrassment to Houston, Texas and the country as a whole. Sheila Jackson Lee keeps getting re-elected by wide margins due to a rigged congressional district. She couldn’t sound like a bigger idiot if she tried. Seriously do a youtube search on her and witness first hand the brilliance of her speaking and thinking skills. Her latest gem is getting lots of feedback, mostly negative. If you haven’t seen it here it is. Viewing could lower one’s IQ by a few points.

What the heck is shipshod? She wants to “use that terminology”? What does that mean? Has anyone heard of a narnstarter? I sure haven’t. Of course there is the typical political garbage spin heard from the vast majority of politicians.

After viewing this atrocity I was quickly reminded of a comedy show I used to watch back in the 90’s. The name of the show was In Living Color and for a time it was hilarious. There was one skit which was brought back to my mind though. It was this one:

I don’t care what a person’s race, religion, nationality, etc… are. If someone is just trying to sound intelligent by using “big” words they are doing a disservice to themselves and those who they are speaking. Just stop speaking and do everyone a favor.

Let’s contrast her speech with one by Ted Poe:

The difference is crystal clear.

Wild Wild West: Allen West Concedes His Congressional Race

20 Nov

There is definitely something rotten in Florida, but it isn’t the uneaten seafood. For better or for worse Allen West has conceded his race to be re-elected to Florida’s 22nd congressional district. With the concession, Democrat Patrick Murphy will become the new representative in Congress next year. Though the Republicans will still hold a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives.

West was well known for telling people his thoughts with no sugar-coating. Many people appreciated this direct approach and many others did not. Even so, the integrity of the vote should be protected by everyone no matter where one falls on the political spectrum. West was right to seek the truth and do what he could in protecting voting integrity.

At some point though, one has to weigh out the cost of continuing to fight the current battle with stopping and regrouping for another. West, being a veteran of the United States Army, knows first hand about this concept and, even though he may not like it, had to apply it in this situation. He put his country and the betterment of the district he had represented above his personal feelings and ideals.

There will be vitriol from those on the left in some joyous celebration of West no longer being a member of Congress. That’s to be expected, sadly. However one should not expect Allen West to ride quietly off into the sunset. Do not be surprised if West starts working on a ground game now to win back either the 22nd district seat or another one in the midterm elections in 2014.

The vote count was close in the 22nd district this time. A glaring reflection of the divide the country is facing on a local and national level.

Veterans Day 2012 – Honor, Respect, Dignity, Valor, Sacrifice

11 Nov

Today is a day for everyone to put aside their differences and come together. We the people owe the men and women of the US Military a huge debt of gratitude. Not because of what we think they have or have not done. No we owe them for what they have done. Most chose to join the military out of their own free will. Those who did not but were instead drafted deserve no less thanks. The men and women of our military do a service many of us could never do.

Some people, when debating about the military, try to “trap” me by asking the leading question, “Well have you ever served,” with disdain in their voice. My reply is simply this, “No. I knew myself well enough to not volunteer for military service. I have left that important job to the men and women who are there and doing a much better job than I could ever do. I would bring them down when they need as many people as possible lifting them up.”

For the most part, the reply quiets those who grasp what is said to them. I have too much honor and respect for the US military. I do have family members who have served and they do talk about their experiences from time to time. But none ever do so in a bragging way. They simply count their service as just loving their country and doing what they could to defend it and what is represents (or at least represented to them in the past).

So today, take a break from the finger pointing. Stop the political posturing and bickering. Instead, take the time to thank the US military men and women for doing a job many of us could not do. If one of the happens to pass by, take a brief moment and thank them. The vast majority, though they may not show it outwardly, will feel honored and eternally grateful on the inside.