Recidivism or Rehabilitation - Traffic sign with two options - repeated criminality and sentencing of convicted criminal vs correction and reformation of former delinquent

How Defy Ventures Reduces Recidivism with Rehabilitation

October 17, 2019

In the second part of this two-part series on the prison system reform, Jim Underdown speaks with Andrew Glazier, president of Defy Ventures, on the high recidivism rates in prisons, how Glazier and Defy Ventures are improving prison inmate rehabilitation, and what happens to communities when people are kept locked up indefinitely.

Defy Ventures is a nonprofit organization that helps current and formerly incarcerated adults with career-readiness and entrepreneurial training programs. You can learn more about the work Defy Ventures is doing by visiting their website or follow them on Twitter.

What was that great music you heard?

“Wahre” by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0

“Building the Sled” by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0


Welcome to another edition of Point of Inquiry. I’m today’s host Jim Underdown recording live from the secular sacristy at Center for Inquiry West in Los Angeles in June of this year. 

I am about 30 or 40 other people took a bus up to the medium security prison in California city, California, and we were judges in a pitch competition held with a bunch of inmates at that facility where they came up with business ideas and pitched it to us judges. We analyzed and scored those pitches and narrowed the field and announced winners at the end of the day. It was an enlightening experience, to say the least. Andrew Glaser, who is president and CEO of the Five Ventures DEFI, is the company that went in and trained these guys to make these entrepreneurial pitches and organized the whole outing at the facility. Thanks for tuning in. I’m Jim Underdown and this is Point of Inquiry. 

So we’re here with Andrew Glazier. Welcome to Point of Inquiry. 

Thank you. Excited to be here. Where are you from originally? I am a native Angelino, so born and raised here in Los Angeles, actually, my mom’s side. Four generations of us were born and raised here in Los Angeles. So in our city, as young as L.A., that counts are a lot of history around here. Get on the presidency of Defy Ventures. We’re a national nonprofit working in career readiness and entrepreneurship, both in president outside prison, worked in a variety of fields, but mostly in the nonprofit and education sectors. 

But what was your immediate step before coming to defy? How did you get into this world? 

I spent eight years at a national nonprofit called City Year, which is a dropout prevention program affiliated with AmeriCorps. And so I ran the program aspect of that for Los Angeles. But even better years. And what do they do? They work with kids in grades three through 10 and employ young adults as tutors and role models and mentors in the school setting to help address attendance, behavior and English and math skills. And, you know, one of the things I learned from doing that work with a number of things. But, you know, we worked in some of the highest in the public schools in Los Angeles. 

The organization works in Haiti, public schools across the country. You see firsthand the school to prison pipeline. And you see that when kids are unable to read. They have attendance issues or behavior issues in school that go unaddressed. 

APS intervention, their risk of dropout is enormous. Kids who drop out of school of high school are far more likely to be involved in the justice system and end up incarcerated. You see this idea firsthand that when you talk about we talk about second chances a lot in our work now. But you also have to talk about this idea of what a legitimate first chance looks like. And I can’t. Any kids you like, this kid has not had a legitimate first chance. Said he was all off often about trying to give legitimate first chance to kids to do well in school and things like that. But so many people that I meet in prison or who with criminal records did not have that legitimate first chance. So we’re about fair chances overall. But but that that certainly was a big piece for me of seeing really up close through our work in schools that, you know, this stuff. The road starts to get charted real early. 

The if the the that lays the foundation for your later life. 

That’s right. I mean, look, I don’t know if this story’s apocryphal or not, but there’s a story circulating out there that, you know, the state Keiko’s and out of prison beds, they need based on third grade reading levels. So that’s one for you guys to see if that’s a real is real thing or not done by whether it is or it is. And I think it illustrates the point of you can end up going down a path very early in life. 

And if there isn’t the appropriate intervention, you know, it can lead to a road lead that can lead to prison on the day we visited the prison. 

One of the things we did, you go you put both sides, the the inmates and the visitors, the judges, through a set of exercises that helps people get to know each other a little bit better and just sort of warms everybody up. 

And one of the things we you ask a series of questions or you approach a line, if this if these various statements apply to you and some of the statements were saw, drug use in the house saw violence in the house growing up. What were the other ones that were along lines where you were just talking? 

So we talked about whether people have been arrested for the age of 18, whether they had experienced violence, whether they had or the family members had experienced violence. You know, if a gangs. 

Yeah, if they had had fan members who died, a media fan, members who had died and as a result of violence or just had died before the age of 18, being kicked out of school, these are all why they were in foster care and things like that. Those were those are some of the kind of questions we ask around childhood. And, you know, I always think it’s interesting to see, you know, we have our volunteers on one side of the line who served as judges in the pitch competition that day. But our volunteers from all different walks of life like you, all in the business community, but others as well. You still see people kind of stepping forward and back on both sides of that line. I mean, part of the you know, a big piece of the exercise is to illustrate, one, that we will have more in common and we don’t have in common and do that. All of us are one big mistake away from being inside. 

And, you know, but for the airbags that we have to, you know, steal a concept from somebody else, I can remember who who who said that bag man and Robert Putnam. 

But this idea that you have certain groups in society had to airbags around them or when they make mistakes but have difficulties, there are resources to to cushion those blows. I think the whole idea, one of the ideas he exercises is to forget people, is to get people to start thinking about what did you have? 

You know, they kept you from being here because almost every man in that room stepped into line. 

We talked about making a really stupid mistake for the age of twenty three, but it was the frequency of some of those stepping to the lines that certainly really set us apart and and some of the nastiest of violence and drugs in the household and stuff like that, which are not so easy to overcome and certainly not easy to overcome if if not only is it in your house, but every other house on your block, going back to when my when I was doing working in schools in some, you know, very hard hit urban areas. 

Now you have a child who every day is trauma. Right. Is experiencing trauma of some kind, either in their home or in the neighborhood. And, you know, without a lot of resources to deal with it and, you know, that stuff accumulates and you want the things we are going to be integrating in our curriculum is adverse childhood experiences test, which kind of goes through just 10 simple questions. But when I’ve had people formerly incarcerated who’ve done that, you know, they’re showing up with between seven and 10, you know, hits on that ace test. Whereas, you know, somebody who’s you know, and that’s very, very high trauma. Right. Lower trauma would be kind of one to four. You know, if that goes unsupported. Right. You know, it goes into some very difficult directions. And one of the directions it can lead to absent intervention is prison. Incarceration is often generational. 

And I have a a class the women’s prison at work at the mother and the daughter are both in our class. Same time. Right. 

And, you know, it’s you know, we ask the question of how many you had parents who had been incarcerated and, you know. Usually a good third of the of the room will step up, if not half. But this stuff is generational. 

And so that’s part of our work is breaking a generational cycle of incarceration and poverty by trying to use entrepreneurship as a way to increase economic opportunity and and inspire some transformation in people. 

We see that happen. Public schools and prisons have a lot of tragic similarities. How discipline is meted out and interactions with the justice system and levels of trauma on the stories. But, you know, when I get to prison, I got to prison to start when I start working in prison, rather. You know, this isn’t just another education intervention program that I’m running. It’s an intervention in a different spot in the cycle. Right. But. 

And and in a different little bit of a different scene on a different setting. Right. But but ultimately is an education program that I’m running in its intervention program that I’m running. 

And, you know, it’s city or one of the things that I love about the approach of ceder, it’s the very humanistic approach. 

What we used to do in my last job is we would recognize that, you know, if you don’t have a relationship with a child and first approach him as a human, you know, what are their needs and how do you build trust? Right. They’re not going to sit down and do math with you. 

Right. If you just shove a book in front of a kid who’s, you know. 

Got some problems going on and doesn’t trust people and has been, you know, learned not to trust people, right. If you can’t help them with that and meet them where they’re at. Doesn’t there’s no way. Right. And the same way that we approach with our work in prison is, you know, we take a very humanistic approach to meeting people where they’re at in a nonjudgmental way and just saying, look, let’s build some trust here. And so the program really is about 75 percent personal development and and career readiness and 25 percent really true entrepreneurship. But you know, what we always tell everybody is, look. There’s no successful entrepreneur I’ve ever met who didn’t know how to deal with, you know, rejection and difficulty, it wasn’t. Didn’t know how to persevere, didn’t have grit. And you’ve got that in spades. So let’s let’s persevere. And. And the really powerful thing about entrepreneurship as a concept to inspire transformation is just by nature, by the nature of entrepreneurship. 

To be an entrepreneur, you have to believe that you can do something right. You have to believe that you have skills that are going to enable you to start something. 

And, you know, in prison. The first two things that I see getting taken away are worth and humanity. And if you think that you’re worthless and you’re subhuman. Right. It’s hard to really dream. 

You’ll fill fill those. 

That’s right. You you you you rise to the level expectation in that case. Right. And if we say when we say to somebody, listen, you have worth and you’re a human being. And further, we believe that you can do something. And so we dare you dream about doing something. Here are the parameters that we give some parameters there. But we say, like, look, you have assets build on those assets. You can be an entrepreneur. We call our program the CEO of your new life because we want them to start thinking about their life from this perspective, like how am I in charge of my life? What do I want to get done? How am I going to get there? And that’s done in the context of them thinking about starting a business, but they skills they get from doing that. The change in mindset that they get from going through that and having that success of just standing up and pitching in front of a group of people that included you. It’s hugely impactful. 

So you guys show up and you say this is a volunteer program, you don’t have to do it. Who wants to be a part of this? And then what happens? They. Yes. Yeah, I want to do. 

So we you know, we work with the the present administration. Right. 

And they would Iowas soon. They would like you because it keeps them keeps. 

Yeah. You know, I think business in leadership has gone through a lot of changes in California where I think 20 years ago, 15, maybe even 10 years ago, a lot of prison leadership was, you know, didn’t believe in programing. You know, certainly where we work now, we work with a lot of our wardens are pro programing. And that’s because state of California has had really sort of, you know, Governor Brown even back to Governor Schwarzenegger. 

But sections of correction who get this idea of, look, today’s inmate is tomorrow’s neighbor. What do you want to do here? And so there’s much more pressure from the top about programs. 

So, yeah, they they generally support us and the work that we’re doing there. And so what we work with them and the guys volunteer and they say we’ll take any crime right now, doesn’t it? No, we don’t discriminate. They scribble history. You’d have to show up here. 

You had to build to complete the application and and commit to doing the work and honoring the values of the program. 

So you have to agree to play ball with the program. And it lasts. How long? Seven months. Seven months. Yeah. 

And so at what point do you. So it’s about pitching a business idea and becoming an entrepreneur. But at what point do you start? Do you start working on the business idea right away or is it. 

Yeah. So. So the first stuff we start to address our belief systems. So we start with a chapter on self limiting beliefs. Right. That’s in the first four or five chapters there. The business stuff gets sort of interwoven throughout the curriculum and it starts to ramp up as you get into the second half. But really, the first half has got more focus on career readiness skills like building a resumé, building a personal statement, early entrepreneurship like automation one to one. Right. But it’s got a lot of also the personal development skills, you know, reflective activities and, you know, addressing belief systems and things like that. 

And then that stuff starts to taper off kind of into the third and fourth book is a twelve hundred page curriculum that we have grown. 

And, you know, and then it starts to ramp up. The more the entrepreneur starts at the end, the culminating exercise that they do is this business pitch. 

Now, look, I mean, I. 

I mean, I love talk about the entrepreneurship in the business ideas because, like, that’s the most impressive part of, you know, seeing this is people do that. But, you know, just being real about it. 

I know that most of these guys aren’t necessarily going to start a business when they come out. 

If they want to have a small business incubator in the post release program where we you know, they if they have an idea and they pitch and they’re admitted to that, they can start a business. 

And we have started businesses. That does happen probably 10 to 15 percent of them are actually going to come out and start businesses. That’s fine. It is the journey to that pitch that is that transformative thing that they do and that skill building. 

And so what I like to say is, look, we are building both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs and intrapreneurs are people who are gonna go work for somebody else but be entrepreneurial in their approach to their employment. And if we can train people to develop these entrepreneurial skills and get them a job where it’s meaningful and they have this opportunity to be entrepreneurial within a company that’s somebody else’s company, they’re going to move up quickly because everybody wants someone who brings entrepreneurial ideas, who’s going to have ideas and want to make the place better and recognize the need to interact well with customers. And that’s going to make them better employees and be creative and also. 

That’s right. 

That’s those are all great attributes that are going to help them become better employees. And the act of them getting through a program, which is hard. Right. And you’ll meet to 10 hours of work a week. They meet twice a week, you know, typically two to two 1/2 hours of programing per class. And they’re get used long thing book and they’ve got to do writing and that kind of stuff. Getting to the end of that is standing up and pitching in front of people they never met. Addressing these fears of like I mean, it’s hard for anybody to do, right. Should get out and give a pitch and share an idea and put yourself out there that way. But having done that, a lot of men say, look, that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And they did it and they graduated. And you can never take that away. And that. And in doing that. What we’re trying to do is convert them to an asset based mindset, not a liability mindset. If you walk into a job interview and you sit in front with your head hanging down, you’re like, I’m terrible. I’m a bad person. My life is awful. Can I have a job? The boss is going to believe your bullet is right. You die, you know? So we’re teaching them to impart. Be selling themselves and to walk in and be like, listen. I have made some mistakes in my life. I’ve taken accountability for those mistakes. I have worked on becoming a better person, even through incarceration. And here is how. And I have assets to offer and I’ve got something to offer you. And I’m going to be a great employee. 

Give me a shot I’ll ever remember to a couple of guys I was talking to. These guys are are already entrepreneurs. I mean, yeah, they’re selling drugs, but you don’t grow a big business. You have to have some skills. 

They’re doing something right anyway. Yeah, absolutely. 

I mean, you know, that’s another kind of core belief that we have, which is, look, business skills or business skills. And whether you had an illegal business or right or a legit business, you still had to have skills. And as I like to say in the class, you know. 

If you are running multiple corners, distributing narcotics, right? 

You’ve got to have marketing skills, you’ve got to have accounting skills, interpersonal. You’ve got to have the ability to know what your customers want and manage product pipelines and operation supply and demand. Now, you you probably have some questionable H.R. practices in your operating in a very difficult regulatory environment. But you know what? 

Those skills are transferable. And our goal is for them to build chance of those skills and put them in a new context that enable them to have legit businesses and make legit money. 

What do you call. There was a phrase to convert the hustle or something and transform their. Transform the. Right. 

Yeah. But I mean, the bigger thing they’re doing is defying the odds. Right. Because the odds are stacked against them. 

But you see these skills start to come out. And I was just at a max security prison yesterday with a really successful entrepreneur. 

And he was blown away by the level of questions he was getting from people. And that’s the thing is, you know, it’s so easy to underestimate these men and women who are incarcerated, right. Because you’re like, oh, they must be so backwards and broke in and, you know, and they must know nothing. 

And just like, you know, horrible. Yeah. Right. 

And then you sit in front of that and people sit down and it’s like, whoa. There’s like real talent in here and real like firepower. Intellectual firepower. And you see that happening like. You hear these pitches, I mean, like anything like some of them are not that great. But then you said of. That’s that’s a really good idea. Right. And you hear people have like thought it through and you’re it’s like. Yeah. 

Do that a fair amount of these things, at least the day we were there and I found out some of this just by talking to some of the guys related to the fresh training programs they had done in the facility. 

So they were learning auto detailing or they were learning dry walling or word janitorial skills, things like that. Yeah, plumbing, whatever. 

So obviously that has some effect or at least ways on their minds as they’re coming up with ideas. 

Yeah, I mean, we we want them fundamentally to draw on a skill they already have. Right. If somebody sits down on a coaching day is like. My idea is to make an app. The first question I asked is, have you ever made an app? And the answer is no. It’s like, think of a new idea. 

Right. Our parameters are you’re building on skills you’ve got. You can start your business for less than twenty thousand dollars. Could be cash flow positive within three months. And I’d have a storefront. Right. Those are the rules. Those are the rules for developing a business within our hour program. Right. And, you know, I tell us it like these were like, how could you possibly have an idea for a business? Let’s join thousands guys. Look, this is not Google, right? We’re not building car, you know? And I guarantee you that the business ever less than twenty thousand dollars is going to burn far less cash and be profitable far sooner than 90 percent of what you’re funding. 

Yeah, a lot of most same labor intensive. And they weren’t. You know, it was things that they could do. 

Look, this is a this is the American way small business. Right? The idea is starting small business that they can grow. And, you know, it’s great if they can scale it up and take over the world market, but love for them to do that and then give a percentage of profits to defy because they are a nonprofit organization. But, you know, if they can get something that’s going be a sustainable self employment for them or maybe they’re going to employ one or two people, hopefully one who were formerly incarcerated as well. 

Right. We just had a huge impact, a huge social return on the thousand dollars we spent on this program on them. Yeah. And that’s what we spent on that, about a thousand bucks per person to do this program in prison. They want to start. They want to start a business. You probably spend another fifteen hundred dollars on them when they come out. And then, you know. 

I mean, and that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we’re paying just to keep them in. 

Eighty one thousand dollars a year, you’re paying to keep them in. Per year. Eighty one thousand dollars per person per year. 

Yeah. And let’s just compare this to what California spends on per pupil in education, which is around thirteen thousand dollars. Give take priority. 

That’s a good idea. Good. So they get to the end of their seven months. They’ve got their business idea. They write their pitch and then describe what happens on the day that we get there. 

So two years. So then we have our culminating shark tank style pitch competition where we have, you know, anywhere from 25 to 50 volunteers in the room broken up into panels. 

Then have rounds of pitch competition where the entrepreneur is in training as a column or 80s, do rounds of pitching. 

And then we do an elimination rounds and then they have three minutes to pitch. Then there’s three and half minutes for questions and then four minutes for feedback. And then we do two rounds like that and finally select down to our final five, our five get up and pitch to the whole audience. 

The audience votes on the best one, including the other participants, and they’re fed their fellow TS will vote as well for a pure favorite. But the audience votes. All the volunteers vote. And then we select our top are places one through five. 

And we give them IOUs for prize money upon release of five hundred dollars and one hundred dollars depending on the place. 

And they have a graduation ceremony and they have a graduation ceremony. 

Exactly. Which for many then maybe the first sighted ever want a cap and gown. Because we do a cap and gown in there and they graduate, they’re allowed to bring in my family. If their family can come. 

And that was a pretty emotional part of it to their families. Came up in the lease the day we were there. The people were saying deep things to their family members and vice versa. The family members were saying, you know, we miss you. And that’s right. It was heavy. 

Yeah. It’s a lot. I mean, you know, saying anything about, you know, when people are incarcerated, right. 

You’re not just incarcerated, that individual. Right. You are having impacts on their entire family. Right. Whether they’ve got children or, you know and, you know, spouses and people who’ve got to carry that load. And that’s a. That that’s a price that everybody pays. 

So I you could just there’s a lot of mixed emotion in the room, you know, there. There’s there’s love. There’s probably some resentment back and forth. No one knows what’s going on. The individual. Right. 

And I know it’s some listeners might be thinking like, yeah, but look at what they did and the price that those people paid, the victims made. 

You know, none of this takes away from the fact that these individuals harmed. Others, right? Yes. And their accountability is being incarcerated. The question that we need to ask ourselves, though, is, does the incarceration end right? And when it ends. If we’re being intellectually honest with ourselves, if we’re saying, yeah, you get out, but when you get out, we’re going to start a second sentence for you, which you’re outside now and not, and you have no opportunity. 

You can’t get a job. 

You can’t make money to feed your family. And so we’re going to punish you for the rest of your life. 

All that leads to is more time in prison, more spending on prison time and more crimes being committed because you’re sending people back to a lifestyle that is a lie. So they’re going to do more harm. So this is not about not account having accountability. 

It is about saying, look. Incarceration time was a punishment, right, not the stripping of humanity. Here’s something that brought this home to me. I was sent the opportunity to take my family and go with my family and we’ll. To Italy and we went to Rome and we were in the Coliseum and the guy was talking about, you know, how the Romans would execute fifty thousand people a year on the Colosseum grounds. 


And, you know, in the increasingly barbaric ways. Right. And you have to look at it. I mean, who these people were awful. You know what? What were they doing? I did. The level of bloodthirstiness then, you know, come back here and I’m working in prisons. And thing about, you know what? You know, the stuff that kind of goes down in prison, how we treat people like history, will judge us so harshly. You know, they’re going to know 100 years from now, you know, God willing, similarly, walk with your prison and be like they did what two people here, they come here for how long? Or a thousand years to fight and smack in the right. And, you know, and they’ll be looking back. And that was barbaric. Right. Right. They hope to gain. Right. 

That, you know, we would create these environments that would, you know, had no, you know, minimal rehabilitative opportunities. Like, let’s not let’s. I don’t want to be looked at that way. I want to be looked at as, you know, understanding that, you know, there was crime and punishment and that had to happen in a certain way. But that as a society, we were enlightened enough to see that people can be rebuilt, rehabilitated, that we are all humans. And that treating humans like animals did not make us better or them better or them better. 


Did the is there anyone you won’t take in these programs? 

Like we take anybody who can fill out the application, even even gub. 

Steve was talking about Pelican Bay, where there’s, like, really hard case. 

Yeah. We mean we don’t operate five Pelican Bay anymore. 

Not because it wasn’t a great place to do it. Just we had some organizational shifts, so we had to stop doing that. 


But I mean, we yesterday I was in the highest security prison in the state at Kern Valley State Prison, which is as high security Pelican Bay. A lot of people who were there came out of the Pelican Bay solitary confinement there when when the state decided to change their solitary confinement policies very much for the better. Kern is as high security as it gets. There are people in there who did some horrible, really horrible things in their life, but they are also people. 

Who want to be better even in their rest of their life in prison? 

You know, redemption looks different to everybody. You know, the best story I can tell about this is we had a Yati in a prison max security prison in San Diego and get life without possibility. Possible parole is never getting out right. Unless laws change and laws change. People get out. 

That’s the other thing is, you know, people who two years ago never thought they were getting out. And now they are. What he said was no volunteers. What do you do in here? Well, I’m the barber, and every one of these guys is going to sit in my chair and I have an opportunity to make a positive impact in their life when they get out. So that’s. These spreads, why I’m here. 

Goodwill and that’s right. You know, he at some point decided, like, I don’t want to do that stuff anymore. I want to be a positive influence on be a positive role model. I can make a difference even inside. I want to do that. It’s not for me to judge somebody and. No, you’re not allowed to be a positive influence in prison. That’s not what we do. 

Ninety percent of these guys are going to get out at some point. Yeah. Should weigh on everybody’s mind. So how what sort of person are you going to turn loose out onto the streets? 

That’s right. What am I getting for the money that I’m putting in? Right. And if I’m getting you know, maybe I am getting somebody who’s 50 percent likely to reoffend and go back to prison. 

It’s not a great return on your investment. I mean, if you look at public education, you get a school or 50 percent of the kids were dropping out and failing. Right. 

Everybody, the people are up in arms over schools like that. Shut it down. You know, make them do this. Make them do that, you know. And, you know, new programs do this that. Right. But you’ve got prisons where there’s. 

There isn’t the same kind of accountability around it, because right now data does not inform how prisons operate. If we’re up to me, I would say, okay, warden, here’s your prison. Here’s your budget. These are the outcomes we want you to hit. And the primary outcome we want you to hit is that they don’t come back. 

Right now, make some decisions about this, and we’re gonna give you the data on prison violence and recidivism. And we’re gonna track that stuff and we’re gonna see and you’re going to see if they did this program where they’re less likely to recidivate. Right. 

Nobody knows it works. Right now, they’re just not paying that course of THC. 

It’s just not a priority. You know, I mean, I can speak for the state of California, at least, I mean, maybe other states that do this far better. But, you know, if I wanted to go to state of California back here, I’d love to see in aggregate, you know, the violence rates in these prisons. 

And I’d love to see the discipline rates, the people who did our program and were they less they have less incidence of discipline and people in programing. Joe approved. They do. And show me who’s less like recidivate. 

No. No clue. No. Can you cave in to system, can’t even yield that data in any kind of. Rapid, actionable way. It’s not designed for his design for law enforcement. But you want to pull you want to pull a rap sheet on one guy. Get good dude all day long. Right. You want to see. 

Know large groups and analyze the data. It is hard to do. 

And so as a results. You know, you’ve got a system that doesn’t yet know what works, right? And you know David. You know, the thing that I would add to that is just, you know, as a movement, though, this is a young movement. 

I mean, 20 years ago, we talk about criminal justice. We were talking about super predators and more three strikes laws and longer sentences. Right. That’s was the dialog in nineteen ninety nine. 

That’s, you know, coming home to roost now for candidates for president. Right. It’s only been in the last 15 years where viewers are like, you know what? 

Maybe we should think differently about this, right. Maybe we should think about what a program looks like. You know, maybe we should change a name of Calford apartment corrections to Calvin Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which only happened. 

Ten years ago, roughly, right? 

And so it is early days for this. And early days for getting people to think differently about this. But so these are important conversations to have. 

Do you have a favorite success story you like to tell? 

Or we saw the one guy our day who came back and was running. Sounded like a pretty success. Yeah. Tim. 

Tim Key. He paroled out of California City, came down, saw the defibrillating Cal City that he got a general certification in prison. Did our program release from program the day of his graduation from our program? Oh, I’ll release from prison. Moved back to San Diego, got back in touch with the Fae. We got him a mentor. We got him into our small business incubator. And about a year and a half after his incarceration, he started his cleaning business. And he’s got three contracts now and he’s self-employed, running a business. 

And it’s hard and. He likes it, you know, and he’s doing good. We had a guy came out of prison in San Diego. Rolled up here. Never had a job in his life. Wow. No, I had been in prison for a while. I had never had a job. He had to hide. He had worked in prison, but had never had a legit job outside prison. And we got a veejays restaurant in Orange County who gave me a shot and we got a note and that guy saw. That, you know, that manager saw that. It’s important to do this. And he hired that guy, you know, three weeks after he was out of prison, get a job. And like this guy, I just had tears in his eyes, like all I want to do. It’s make my mom proud of me. 

And, you know, he was given this opportunity and and that’s got to be a crucial time, like within the first few months before people start leaving, losing hope. 

And you really want to try to get people employed within 90 days of release. 

If you can. You know, that’s our goal is try to do that. So but, like, this stuff happens over and over again. And, you know, we’re working hard to try to find employer partners are willing to hire people, come in through our program. You know, part of the reason why we bring volunteers into prison is to change their minds about criminal justice and who they think is in prison. 

And that works, you know, you get people come in and they walk out with a complete different viewpoint. 

I tried to go in with this blank slate as possible. 

And, boy, I learned a lot of surprising things about, you know, my own misconceptions of what the inside of a prison. Yeah. Look like. That’s right. And who’s there, right. Yeah. Right. 

And who they are. And, you know, where do they come from and what do they want to do? And being able to provide them some level of programing. 

It it, it’s, it makes a difference. Right. Somebody’s coming out with no programing. I have a hard time. 

If a person wanted to give some money to defy or to volunteer for warning’s pitch in pitch programs, which, by the way, I highly endorse, it was a very enlightening day and well worth the effort. Where do people go? 

We are a five one see three. So all donations are tax deductible. W w w dot defy ventures dot org. DFI V.A. you are E.S. to five ventures dot org. Didn’t click on the donate button if you’d like to join us in prison. There are volunteer events that are listed there. One day. One day. Yeah. One day in prison. Exactly. I just spend a day with us so you can see all the events that we’ve got there. We’ve got events in Southern California and Northern California in the New York area. Get you over to the Colorado affiliates in Colorado and Chicago area. 

We meet we run a lot of programing California right now. But we also posted these programing, you know, for people to see where we do coaching nights outside prison. And we also are running transitional programing now in traditional facilities. So we’re just getting that up and running. 

But there’s are gonna be some new opportunities in the future as well. They’re in town. You don’t have to go all the way to prison to do it. 

Andrew Glazier, thanks so much for being on point of inquiry. 

It’s been my pleasure. Thanks for having me. 

Thank you for listening. Point of Inquiry is a production of the Center for Inquiry. The Center for Inquiry is a five or one, two, three charitable nonprofit organization whose vision is a world in which evidence, science and compassion rather than superstition, pseudoscience or prejudice guide public policy. You can visit us at point of inquiry at OAG. There you can listen to all of piecewise archived episodes were available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and your favorite podcast app of choice. Special thanks to Pamela Crosslin of Crosslin Law, located in The Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. She does business and intellectual property law and helped us out with some of the valuable intellectual property information for this program. 

Thank you. And see you again in two weeks. 

Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown is executive director of Center for Inquiry–Los Angeles, and the founder of the Independent Investigations Group.