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Breaking the Cycle: Entrepreneurship in Prison
By .forbes.com - Gosia Glinska
Published: 02/20/2013

Imagine you’re in prison. Your release date is quickly approaching. But you’re a high-school dropout with few job skills. Even if you took classes on the inside and learned how to weld or hang drywall—you are an ex-con. Who will hire you? How are you going to survive in the worst economy in decades?

In 2013, nearly 700,000 inmates will be released from state and federal prisons in the United States. Many dread the day they will regain freedom. Unable to find legitimate employment, many resort to a life of crime and quickly return behind bars. According to the Justice Department, more than 60% of prisoners are rearrested within three years of their release.

“The number one challenge ex-offenders face is the scarlet letter on their chest,” says Greg Fairchild, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “That’s the first and only thing many people will see.” Fairchild, who teaches courses in strategic management and entrepreneurship at Darden, has made it his mission to help inmates overcome significant barriers to reentering society.

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