A Successful Criminal : Resources

Catherine Hoke realized that members of society who have been formerly incarcerated never lost their ability to hustle. What got a lot of them into the prison system, like the ability to scale a drug business, market themselves under the radar, and keep track of a million dollar cash flow, could be just what they need to get back on their feet. The only problem that they faced was trying to find someone willing to forget their past and believe in their potential and the person they've become. And there in that tension, Defy Ventures was born. In short, they are a venture capital firm that invests strictly in formerly incarcerated men and women. 

After seeing Catherine's Big Omaha talk back in 2013 I was so fascinated by this model that I answered a call for volunteers to provide social media consulting for one of their Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs). Defy Ventures had just held a pitch event for their EITs and the winner received a package of services from business and marketing to a new website. Coss Marte was on the receiving end of this and so my venture into the justice system began. Finding himself in solitary confinement and overweight with health problems, Coss knew something had to change. And only armed with his body weight and the experience of starting a business, ConBody was born. 

To think that Coss would have a near impossible journey finding a job after his time in jail is baffling to me. Our justice system is messed up and the way we label criminals is only aiding this cycle. With more and more stories like Coss' bubbling up I wanted to compile a few podcasts (if you know me you know I geek out on podcasts so bare with me) that shed light on both his story and how we're a part of this cycle of inhumanity towards those who have been formerly incarcerated. I hope these are resources you pass along and that it's a reminder to us all that we're broken and always have a chance to be made new. 

On how our perceptions can make a difference

TED : How We're Priming Some Kids For College - And Others For Prison (iTunes)

Invisibilia : The Personality Myth (iTunes)

On Coss Marte's story: 

Planet Money : From Jail Cell to Studio - Drug Dealer Becomes Personal Trainer 

Lions of Liberty : Coss Marte $2 Million Drug Dealer Turned Successful Entrepreneur (iTunes)

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