Pre-Entry Rather than Re-Entry

Oct 25, 2017

Session Description

Rather than re-entry, what if we focused on “pre-entry”? What challenges do people face upon release from prison, and what more can be done—before they leave prison—to produce healthy, productive outcomes for them, their families, and the cities that most of them return to? Rebecca encourages us to re-imagine what reentry might look like. She is breaking through molds and cutting through systemic challenges to bring skills and hope to formerly incarcerated individuals here and abroad.

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Rebecca GinsburgCo-Founder & Director, Education Justice Project


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  1. Here in Cleveland, we have EDWINS Restaurant (, which has created a culinary training program for ex-offenders that is not only providing great careers in fine dining, but has a recidivism rate amongst its 200 alumni of just one percent. Training and education is also offered in every Ohio prison. How can we scale great social enterprises like EDWINS? How can we leverage what one great organization does and make it a national model?

    • Thanks for your question , Matthew,

      Sounds like a great program! It would be wonderful to get the word out about it. I’m not sure the solution lies in scaling successful programs nationally, as much as in designing and implementing programs across the country that are responsive to local context.

      Also, please note that around 20,000 are released from Ohio prisons each year. You write that EDWINS has around 200 alumni. To me, this suggests that this model needs to coexist alongside other programs and opportunities. (Indeed, I wonder if its success has something to do with its current scale. I don’t know, just wondering.)


  2. How many people signed up for this program total, how many graduated total? Which government agency pays for this program?

    • Dear Frances,

      Thanks for your question.

      In the 9 years since we’ve started, we’ve had around 210 students. We have around 70 alumni (ie released students). We don’t have graduates per se, since we don’t offer a degree. Most of our f,unding comes from the private sector, but we receive some support from the state, as we’re a University of Illinois program.


  3. Sounds like a great idea; I understand there are successful models of this being done in Europe – would love to hear about the data/results . . .

    • Thanks, Sanjay!

      There are about 100 programs like ours around the US, though most are not as comprehensive as the Education Justice Project.


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