According to a Harvard study, men and women released from incarceration have trouble finding work and are usually employed in low-wage jobs that offer little opportunity for advancement.
Beyond the low incomes and high unemployment rates of released prisoners, incarceration for Blacks and Hispanics is different from incarceration for whites. The racialization of incarceration is reflected most obviously in disparities, in which imprisonment rates are five to eight times higher for African Americans than whites, and twice as high for Hispanics (Tonry and Melewski 2008; Travis et al. 2014, 56–64).
There are several men and women combating these statistics by way of entrepreneurship. We were able to interview Anthony Jackson. He is a formally incarcerated individual and an entrepreneur.
Anthony Jackson serves as a Public Relations Consultant in the marketing industry while studying Business Administration at The University of Baltimore. He’s dedicated to spreading information about education within prison institutions. Released from prison himself in December of 2020, Mr. Jackson served over 13 years in a state ran institution. Originally sentenced to 25 years, his sentence was modified in 2019 because of his magnificent transformation. While incarcerated, Anthony took part in coordinating self-help modules for youth offenders and building a program of his own. From there he put on a keen focus into education and enrolled in non-credited college courses for two years. With a dream to one day attend college and earn actual credits, Anthony’s dream came true. In 2012, President Barack Obama brought back Pell Grants for incarcerated citizens as a pilot program allowing colleges to enter institutions and teach accredited courses to inmates.
By the grace of God, he was selected to take part in the very first cohort of The Second Chance Pell Grant Program that President Obama enacted. In 2017, Mr. Jackson begin his freshman year at the University of Baltimore under its Second Chance Program in prison. Since being released in 2020, his journey to inform society about the benefits of college in prisons has been a part of Anthony’s reentry process. Within months of beginning release, Anthony worked as a program coordinator for the From Prison Cells to Ph.D. program. This is a nationwide program and non-profit organization assisting returning citizens with acclimating to society and getting them enrolled into colleges in their area.
Not being reluctant on telling his story, Anthony has been featured on podcasts and in national magazines. Today, he’s proud to say he’s a member of the University of Baltimore’s Helen P. Denit Honors Program and on the road to earning a bachelor’s degree and the owner of Expedite Vending.
What’s your biggest motivation?
Anthony: Family and freedom have been my biggest motivation. There was a period in time in my life when I felt like I lost my family after I had already lost my freedom due to incarceration. Almost two years ago I was released from a state ran institution in Maryland where I served 13 years. During my incarceration, I missed insurmountable time with my family, more importantly, my son. At the beginning of my incarceration, he was two years of age and when I was released he was 15 years old. Never would I want to see my child in the same predicament as I once was. He and the rest of my family help me remember what I once lost and motivates me to continue striving on a path to success.
What’s your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Anthony: Setting my own hours and being my own boss primarily are some of my favorite aspects. However, recently I’ve found it very satisfying knowing that what I do on a daily basis makes others lives much easier. Life can be a heck of a struggle, and fortifying a way to assist others is huge to me.
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