Minnesota’s recidivism rate has been improving. But what happens when formerly incarcerated people look for work and housing? Are they finding the support they need to reintegrate into the community?
This week, we’re revisiting recent conversations we’ve had about Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. First: this In Focus event from February 2021 about the challenges faced by Minnesota’s formerly incarcerated residents and what we can do as a state to support successful reentry after incarceration. The event was presented by MPR News and partner Tech Dump and hosted by Angela Davis.
Twin Cities-based Tech Dump is one of the largest collectors and recyclers of electronic waste in Minnesota. The nonprofit also operates as a social enterprise that provides jobs and training to adults facing barriers to employment.
To watch a video recording of the conversation and explore related resources aggregated by Tech Dump, check out the original In Focus post here.
Nadine Graves is a former Hennepin County public defender who now represents parents in child protection civil cases. She has also represented hundreds of people charged with criminal offenses ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. She 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.” She also hosts a podcast called “The Waiting Room.” 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 formerly incarcerated community members. He was previously the housing director for Ujamaa Place, which primarily serves African American men ages 18 to 30 in 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 People Leadership Institute, where he is the lead trainer. Their personal development and leadership training program has been offered to offenders at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in 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 coordinator of the African American Men Project.
Josh Wilson is employed by the Department of Public Works for the city of Minneapolis. Part of Josh’s story is that he has served four sentences in Minnesota penitentiaries. After his last release in 2010, he wanted a change and connected to resources that continue to sustain him today: a great mentor, a strong spiritual faith, and steady employment. Josh entered the jobs training program at Tech Dump, created for people who face barriers to employment, and graduated in 2012. He is a resource for individuals who are beginning the process of reentry after incarceration.
Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
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 News hopes to encourage new connections and relationships that will help Minnesota communities make progress toward equity and inclusion.
Editor’s note: This program originally aired in February 2021 and was rebroadcast on May 10.
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