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Fall 2024 Reading Group

Second Chance Entrepreneurship – barriers and opportunities to achieve economic independence for the formerly incarcerated

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

Over 600,000 people leave state and federal prisons each year to re-enter society in the United States. Upon reentry, they face an uphill battle to secure a steady source of income through traditional employment, leading many to start their own businesses, sometimes as a last resort.

This reading group will explore entrepreneurship as a tool to reduce recidivism and as a means of resistance to mass incarceration’s perpetuation of poverty. We will consider the challenges (legal, social, and financial) to returning citizens pursuing “necessity entrepreneurship” through different lenses: looking through the eyes of organizers fighting for economic opportunities for those re-entering society, considering the perspective of the policy makers balancing economic equity and systemic risk and academics taking a birds’-eye view, and reading first-hand accounts of system-involved individuals who have embarked on the path to self-employment.

Students will be encouraged to reflect on both the promise and limitations of entrepreneurship opportunities for returning citizens, how the legal framework and various investment and policy initiatives help or hinder their wealth creation, and what the attorney’s role is and could be in the fight for economic justice in this vulnerable community.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: TBD.