Incarceration and recidivism are significant challenges in Texas, especially for men. Over 125,000 men were incarcerated in Texas in 2016 and 23 percent of males released from a state prison in Texas will return to prison within three years of release. In comparison, only seven percent of PEP graduates return to prison within three years of release.
PEP’s curriculum and leadership training is designed to help students develop re-entry plans and build hope, optimism and resilience. For many graduate entrepreneurs ICIC interviewed, they felt that the lifestyle changes they made while in prison were the biggest factors in reducing their chances of going back to prison.
As one graduate entrepreneur interviewed by ICIC explained, “Prison is detrimental to the extent that it does not require you to have a job or get through education. If it was up to me, everyone would have to go through PEP before coming home. It forces you to think about where you are in life and come up with a plan for yourself. To have a program where you can get away from prison and have people invest in you and empower you, it gives you an opportunity to have a voice. When you couple that with the networking side, the social side, it empowers people to take off the years of fear that prison gives you. I don’t have enough good things to say about the program.”
PEP Drives Growth in Texas
The economic impact of all active PEP businesses in Texas was measured using IMPLAN in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.