Our why: Even though someone has served their time, a second sentence begins as soon as they’re released. It creates a revolving door to prison and a legacy of poverty, dependency, violence, and incarceration that is passed down through generations.
- More than 5 million formerly incarcerated people live in the U.S.
- 1 year after release, up to 60% are not employed.
- Unemployment rate is over 5x higher than the general population
Our how: Defy’s mission is to shift mindsets to give people with criminal histories their best shot at a second chance. Our vision is to cut the recidivism rate in half by leveraging entrepreneurship to increase economic opportunity and transform lives. We serve people with criminal histories in seven states through our in-prison and post-release programs.
Our impact: While the national return-to-prison (recidivism) rate is 30% one year after release and nearly 50% three years after, Defy’s one-year recidivism rate is less than 5%. With the average yearly cost of incarceration of $75,279 per incarcerated person in California and New York combined, the direct savings to society on incarceration cost alone is approximately $9,710,991 year-to-date.
Our employment rate for released graduates is 84%. We’ve engaged over 5,800 dedicated volunteers in our work and served over 5,500 Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs) since 2012. Our graduates are defying the odds, and we invite you to join us!
COVID-19 update: Defy is moving our programs onto virtual platforms so we don’t skip a beat! We are starting a letter writing campaign and a book club for our incarcerated EITs and our post-release EITs have already started virtual meetings.