Tech Discounts is *thrilled* to present, In Focus- Locked Out: Exploring the Path from Incarceration to Inclusion. This series was produced in partnership between Tech Dump and Minnesota Public Radio.
We teamed up for a conversation about the challenges faced by Minnesota’s formerly incarcerated residents upon re-entry into the community and how we can all become a more welcoming state, hosted by Angela Davis on February 24th, 2021.
Tech Discounts and Tech Dump, both a part of the Jobs Foundation, provide jobs and training to people who face barriers to employment, with the most frequent barrier being a history of incarceration. Finding a job is just one of many hurdles that face individuals as they re-enter the community, and we’re excited to hear more in-depth in this multi-part panel series. We’re grateful to MPR for their partnership on this first panel, which you can watch above or on the MPR News In Focus page. This is the first of an ongoing series we are planning, we will keep you posted with details on the next one in the coming weeks.
In this first installment, MPR News host Angela Davis lead the conversation about these issues with a panel of community experts including:
- Nadine Graves, public defender
- Brother Shane M. Price, co-founder and lead trainer, The Power of People Leadership Institute
- Richard McLemore, Executive Director, McLemore Holdings
- Josh Wilson, 2012 graduate of Tech Dump’s jobs training program. Josh is currently employed by the Public Works Department for the City of Minneapolis.
At Tech Discounts, as well as Tech Dump, we believe that everything and everyone has value–and for us, that especially includes people who have been “locked out” of society after incarceration. As a part of our founding mission, we provide hundreds of thousands of employment hours and nearly a million dollars in wages, as well as practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment. Many of our trainees and staff not only have experience in the criminal-legal system but are also in recovery from addiction. Our goal is to create an environment that not only teaches job skills, but provides a safe and stable environment so that sobriety can be maintained, connections to the community can be made, and additional opportunities can be explored.
Minnesota’s recidivism rate has improved over the years, with fewer people being sent back to prison within three years of being released, but there are still many hurdles facing individuals as they navigate the re-entry process. What is it like to be released from time served and try to secure a job or find housing? Join us in discussing these questions and more, and how our work practically impacts the lives of Minnesotans. Many of us are unaware of the challenges facing others in our communities, and we hope this conversation will be an opportunity to learn as well as to spark thinking about the roles we can all play in changing stereotypes and removing barriers so that others may rejoin and become active and contributing members to the world around them.
About MPR News In Focus Series
MPR News In Focus is a series of convenings we are committed to leading on Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. Through conversations with community leaders that are shaped by our curious, engaged audience, MPR hopes to encourage new connections and relationships that will help Minnesota communities make progress toward equity and inclusion.
If you have thoughts or questions about the event or the topic of incarceration and reentry, you can also contribute to the conversation in different ways through the MPR News In Focus page.
Nadine Graves is a public defender who has represented hundreds of people charged with criminal offenses ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. She currently represents parents in child protection civil cases and is chair of the board for the nonprofit We Are All Criminals, an organization working to challenge people’s perceptions of what it means to be “criminal.” The daughter of Liberian immigrants, Graves holds degrees from Delaware State University and Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Richard McLemore II is the executive director of McLemore Holdings, an African American, culturally inclusive organization focused on providing holistic professional development workshops, renters and homebuyers education courses, wealth building courses and healing circles to people in need, including to formerly incarcerated community members. He was previously the housing director for Ujamaa Place, which serves primarily African American men ages 18 to 30 from the Twin Cities metro area. He has also worked with the city of St. Paul’s ETHOS diversion program and serves on the board of directors for We Are All Criminals.
Brother Shane M. Price is the co-founder of The Power of the People Leadership Institute, where he is the lead trainer. The personal development and leadership training program has been offered to offenders at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Faribault since December 2005 and has since expanded to facilities in Lino Lakes, Moose Lake and Rush City. He also directs the program’s two re-entry houses in north Minneapolis. He previously worked for Hennepin County as an administrative assistant, research analyst and as coordinator of the African American Men Project.
Josh Wilson works in public works for the city of Minneapolis. He is a graduate of Tech Dump’s job training program that works with formerly incarcerated adults. After Wilson was incarcerated for a fourth time in 2010, he says he was tired of his lifestyle and wanted something different. After returning home after his sentence, he says he found God and a mentor who still helps him today.
Here are some additional resources and information aggregated by Tech Dump: