The much anticipated Defy Venture program will not have a Mississippi launch in the foreseeable future.
The program aims to assist and educate prisoners on everything from basic life skills, to launching a business. So far they have been successful in doing so with the inmates that come through their program.
Originally the Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelecia Hall said the program had shown a lot of success and she believed it could do the same in Mississippi. The program was planned to be offered at the Mississippi Department of Corrections Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County.
But all progress has been halted, and the launch will not happen.
When News Mississippi reached out to the MDOC we were given a short statement by Commissioner Hall:
“Unfortunately, we are not in a position to move forward with the Mississippi launch at this time. This administration is committed to meaningful rehabilitation, and will continue to work in that regard.”
We were told that the commissioner would not be commenting further on the issue.
Defy Venture released a statement regarding the unsuccessful pursuit of Mississippi
“To All Who Eagerly Welcomed Defy Ventures to Mississippi: It is with disappointment and sadness that I announce that Defy will not be launching in Mississippi. Despite $400,000 in committed funding, amazing media coverage, and vocal support from 100+ community and business leaders, legislators, and state officials, Mississippi has notified us that they have decided not to move forward with Defy at this time. We were not provided with a reason for the decision.
Most saddening to me is the lost opportunity to serve the incarcerated men and women in Mississippi, who surely heard through the media that we were launching at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (with planned cohorts in both the women’s and men’s prisons). We will not give up on Mississippi, and hope the state will decide to open its doors to us in the future.
Although Defy is not allowed to run our program as we had hoped, we have a plan B. Our team is working diligently on a new correspondence program (with curriculum and assignments delivered through the mail) that will be available nationally to incarcerated people. We anticipate that the correspondence program will be available by early 2018.”
Founder and CEO Catherine Hoke
Also in their letter Defy reached out to any people in Mississippi who were incarcerated, the family member of someone incarcerated, or a Mississippi lawmaker that was for the programs and encouraged them to stay up to date with online services they offer.