Turn Our Prison Community Into Entrepreneurs

Turn Our Prison Community Into Entrepreneurs
27th April 2016 Barry J. Murphy

Obviously, there are lots of different categories of prisoners, but I wonder how many of them ended up in prison due to a feeling of hopelessness, one way or another, that led them to have a disregard for the law.

Here are a few stats from the Irish Penal Reform Trust website, which are mind blowing:

  • It costs €68k to keep a prisoner in Ireland.
  • 80% re-offend within 4 years.
  • 70% are unemployed.

Prison officers are employed to keep security and maintain peace in prisons, but could we employ a different type of prison officer?

How can you give our prisoners a feeling of hope and of a future when they are released? I know that there are certain training programs available for prisoners, but is it enough?

If a person leaves prison with the ability to make a good living, what are the chances of them re-offending, or how much will they decrease?

Here is a suggestion. There are millions of people working online as freelancers in all types of professions. There are also millions of people who created online businesses from, Mark Zuckerberg to much smaller online businesses and platforms.

Why don’t we give people in prisons restricted access to the internet and show them examples of what others have created online? Let them then come up with their own ideas and support them in trying to turn their ideas into reality. If a person leaves prison already making a good living online with the feeling that they are worth something and that they can pay their way, buy a house, a car, go on holiday and do all of what we consider to be “normal things”, surely they will not want to go back inside again.

The case could also be made for certain prisoners who started to make a good living online, to have their sentence cut if they repaid the state for the cost of their imprisonment. These same people, whom a lot of society looks down on, could well end up creating a lot of employment in the future, as well as saving the state a fortune re-admitting them time and again.

Let’s create a system and a type of prison officer who is trained to encourage and help people in prison to become online entrepreneurs.

Don’t ever forget that some of our fellow citizens in prison have come up with master stroke creative ways to beat the law, and if that same creative streak was turned around in a positive direction, the results could be very impressive indeed, regardless of their prior education…

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