Since 1980, the number of incarcerated adults in the United States has quadrupled from roughly 500,000 to 2.2 million, now representing nearly one out of every 100 Americans. After serving their sentences, most of those individuals face an uphill battle when trying to reintegrate into society, especially when it comes to finding a job. Only about a quarter of former inmates are employed one year after their release, and only 10 percent have a job after three years.
While many are trying to tackle this challenge through criminal justice reforms, career training and job placement programs, one group in New York is deploying another tactic and presenting former inmates with an alternative career path after prison: entrepreneurship.
Based in Brooklyn, Refoundry is a nonprofit that teaches woodworking and entrepreneurship skills to formerly incarcerated adults, helping them learn to transform discarded materials into beautiful home furnishings and in the process helping them completely transform their …