Voyage LA Magazine Exploring Life & Business with Travis Richey
A decade ago I was released from p
rison and realized I was fortunate. With nowhere to go but up I crafted a life of fulfillment using the 17,520 hours I spent working on myself. I have a wonderful family and support group, faith in my purpose, and a belief that I was supposed to change the narrative around second chances. I also realized that this was not the case for 99% of the individuals who are impacted by the justice system. Most of these individuals never had the opportunity to get a job, afford a place to live they could call their own, and plan for their futures; this system was flawed and deficient in providing the life skills, job training, and real-world education these individuals needed to learn in order to succeed. While it is difficult to ascertain whether poverty makes someone more likely to commit a crime, data shows it does make a person more susceptible to being arrested and more likely to be charged with a harsher crime and to receive a longer sentence. Adults in poverty are three times more likely to be arrested than those who aren’t, and people earning less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level are 15 times more likely to be charged with a felony which, by definition, carries a longer sentence than people earning above that threshold.
I realized then, we didn’t have a prison problem, we had a purpose problem. So I began speaking inside the prison system helping those incarcerated define their path, plan, and purpose for their next act in life. I was speaking to their souls, not their past actions, allowing them to be mentally free while they detailed their future.