Recidivism or Redemption

By Jessamyn Lau

Four statistics:

- The national recidivism rate is 60%. - It costs an average of $48,000 per year to keep one person incarcerated. - Hudson Link has a 0% recidivism rate. - Each year their 46 released graduates stay out of prison New York States saves $2.2M.

Pretty compelling metrics, huh?

Last week we were at BYU for the launch of the Peery Social Entrepreneurship Program. One of the events held was an exclusive screening of a film made by BYU alum Tim Skousen. ‘Zero Percent’ is still an unfinished film so we were not seeing the final cut, but I was already impressed with the subject matter and the masterful way in which is was presented. This is not an area the Peery Foundation works in, but my dad works in a prison and we’ve had many Sunday afternoon conversations about the importance of effective education inside prisons.

The film follows a group of men in Sing Sing maximum security prison taking part in the Hudson Link program. It tells their stories, observes their progress towards achieving their associates/bachelors degrees, and most importantly depicts repentance and redemption. The men and women who take part in the program are transformed and supported to lead more constructive and meaningful lives, through the challenge of higher education.

No agenda for this post. Just wanted to highlight some obviously important work. For more info check out this article from the New York Times. And when “Zero Percent” is finished and gets released put it on your to-watch list. It’s a testament to the power of education as a tool for redemption.