We are in direct communications with both Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Management Training Corporation and will update this page as new information comes out in regards to visitation, events, and in-prison education. Feel free to contact PEP with any questions. 

Update at 4:00p.m. on March 16, 2020: At this time, TDCJ is not allowing any non-essential staff or outside visitors into their units. This includes PEP In-prison staff. In an effort to be sensitive to the vulnerability of the health and well-being of our volunteers and participants on our units we are canceling the March 27 Pitch Day event at the Oliver J. Bell Unit and the April 3 Venture Capital Panel event at the Sanders Estes Unit. These events will not be rescheduled, and we will reassess our plans for events planned beyond April 3 by the end of business on Friday, March 27.

We are currently creating contingency plans for education and pitch evaluations related to our Business Plan Competition curriculum and will communicate those plans once they are finalized. The health and safety of our participants, volunteers, employees and our partners Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Management Training Corporation are PEP’s top priorities. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate through these new challenges and stand strong in our mission to Transform Lives, Restore Families and Rebuild Communities.


4:30p.m. on March 13, 2020: At a press conference this afternoon Texas Govenor Greg Abbott announced that he has directed state officials to limit visitation in all state facilities, including all state jails and prisons. In response TDCJ has suspended all visitation until further notice. At this time we are not canceling any of our curently scheduled events, but have suspended new registrations for events scheduled over the next 5 weeks pending further direction from both TDCJ and MTC.


10:50a.m. on March 13, 2020
The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is fully aware of concerns related to the Coronavirus and are keeping a close eye on the situation. PEP is committed to the health and well-being of our volunteers, participants and employees and our partners Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Management Training Corporation. At this time, the relevant public officials are not recommending cancellation of gatherings, and PEP has no plans to cancel our events at the Oliver J. Bell Unit in Cleveland and Sanders Estes Unit in Venus.

We are monitoring periodic updates from Texas health professionals and the Center for Disease Control, as well as working diligently with both TDCJ and MTC to ensure that all precautions are taking place to keep the in-prison population safe when outside guests are visiting. As part of unit precautions:


  • You may be subject to additional questioning and scrutiny by security staff when arriving for an event. This may include hand sanitizing and hand washing stations.
  • We encourage all volunteers to thoroughly wash their hands prior to, during and after each of our events.
  • You are encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer, it must be a clear platic bottle, no sprays, no pumps, small in size (1 fl. oz. or less).
  • PEP intends to limit physical contact between volunteers and participants by having alternative greetings rather than handshakes and hugs.</s>



If you have any symptoms of any kind of sickness, we ask that you refrain from attending an event as prison populations are uniquely vulnerable and at a higher risk of acquiring viruses and infections.

TDCJ has released a public statement in response to Coronavirus, which can be found here.

MTC, who manages both the Oliver J Bell and Sanders Estes Units has also released a response, which can be found here.

We will issue an update to our position as conditions and circumstances change.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we thank you for your cooperation.

Bryan Kelley
Chief Executive Officer
Prison Entrepreneurship Program