WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 135 of 195

good works "contribute to society" through CORI checks. (CORI — or Criminal Offender Record Information — is a record of your Massachusetts criminal history, including any time you were arraigned in court on a crimi- nal charge, no matter what the final outcome of the charge.) The irony runs deep, Winig says. An inmate who completes a GED or even a college degree while behind bars often cannot work for the very institutions that granted the degree. So, too, with some of the state-sponsored vocational training. One state invested tax dollars in barbering training for inmates, but upon release they were unable to work as barbers because the state denied licenses to convicted felons. Without access to legal jobs upon release, many require state assistance, or seek illegal alternatives that can lead to re-arrest. In 2010, the annual cost to incarcerate some- one in Massachusetts was $46,000. As taxpayers in Wellesley, Winig and her husband, Larry Buckley, who also teaches Entrepreneurship 101, believe it makes sense to open more avenues of employment for newly released inmates so they, in turn, can contribute to society. Self-employment seems the most likely route. That was the most promising solution Baillie Aaron envisioned when she founded Venturing Out while working at the Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management. She was also volun- teering as a GED teacher at the Suffolk House of Correction. She noticed her students' inter- est in math piqued when she incorporated monetary values into the equations. So, too, with reading and writing when she wove in stories of running a business and turning a profit. She began outlining the curriculum that later became Entrepreneurship 101. Research done at Hofstra University has found that incarcerated individuals often possess a high level of aptitude for entrepre- neurial success. Risk-taking and individual initiative are inherent in many criminal activities; drug dealing, in particular, has an 134 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012

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