Jeff Smith on NPR: Harnessing prison ingenuity to get ex-cons on their feet

When contributing RP Jeff Smith, a state senator representing St. Louis, found himself behind bars for political missteps, he discovered a unique business world churning in prisons.

He saw that a meager prisoner’s salary quickly leads to ingenuity. You have to figure out how to get what you want without much money. What Smith saw on the inside struck him as very similar to business leaders he had come in contact with outside of the penitentiary.

He’s been released and has landed a job teaching at the New School. One of his crusades is to figure out a way to harness the ingenuity he experienced behind bars and getting ex-cons back on their feet with a business plan.

Jeremy Gregg works with the same population that Smith found so underutilized and inspiring. Gregg is the chief development officer of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, where inmates take classes on how to build a business.

Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Daily Circuit” discussed harnessing prison ingenuity to get ex-cons on their feet.


Click here to listen to the broadcast.


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