Prison Program at Hankamer Helps Inmates Return to Society


The Texas Prison Entrepreneurship Program at the Baylor University – Hankamer School of Business was recently recognized in an article from E27 examining the importance of an entrepreneurial education for those returning from an incarceration sentence.

The article recognizes a number of programs which are partnering with current and formerly incarcerated individuals to teach entrepreneurial skills and encourages better social reintegration. Considering that obtaining employment can often be difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals, being armed with the necessary skills for entering the job market can be crucial for a successful return to society. In fact, research has shown that the inability to gain employment is a significant factor in one’s likelihood to re-offend—as much as three to five times more likely.

Considering that the stigmatization of incarceration is a common reason that it is difficult for these individuals to find jobs, the prospect of entrepreneurship and self-employment is an exciting one.

The Texas Prison Entrepreneurship Program, offered through Hankamer, tops the list of promising programs around the world which aim to bring entrepreneurial skills to incarcerated individuals. The Hankamer program works with selected individuals to provide workshops and guidance of leadership and business development. The winner of the program is awarded $150,000 in seed funding.

All graduates of the Hankamer program will receive a “Certificate in Entrepreneurship” from Baylor University and offered accommodation in the program’s five transition home.

The program has revealed results such as a recidivism rate of less than 7 percent over the course of three years, whereas the national average is nearly ten times that rate. Compared to other models, the PEP has shown a 70-to-80 percent improvement in participants, outperforming nine other rehabilitation programs in the state.

The article also profiles programs such as Inmates to Entrepreneurs in the U.S., Leonhard in Germany and Startup Now in the U.K.


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