From the Economist- An amazing story from Texas on the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. PEP teachers prisoners how to be successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. The War on Drugs is a tragedy for many reasons. One is the incarceration of human potential for consensual crime.
Why would drug dealing felon convicts make good businessmen? Let’s ask today’s hero Catherine Rohr, a venture capitalist who founded PEP after visiting several Texas prisons. From the Economist
Ms. Rohr’s premise is that criminals are intelligent people with good heads for business and healthy appetites for risk, and that these traits can be put to productive use. She is particularly interested in people who have already demonstrated these skills—for example by running a successful drug business or achieving a high rank in a gang
The rigorous program has a 50% dropout rate. The students in PEP meet MBA students and business leaders to develop business plans. 40 graduates already have businesses up and running. PEP also slashes recidivism (5% among graduates) and produces qualified applicants for employment.
Supplying illegal drugs is a business. The skills learned are fungible for legal commercial activity. Until we take drug dealing away from organized crime, we can at least take back some of the talent.