Why this former NFL player is launching a business school program for inmates

Criminal justice reform has entered the spotlight with high-profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Meek Mill lobbying for changes to state probation and parole laws.

And former NFL player Jack Brewer is joining the fight with his newly launched Fordham Gabelli School of Business certificate program for the incarcerated.

“I’ve been able to establish a program that we can teach these guys business principles so when they get out they at least understand business terminology,” Brewer told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview.

Former NFL player Jack Brewer recently launched his Fordham Gabelli School of Business certificate program for the incarcerated

The program — an offshoot of Brewer’s Athletes and Artist Executive MBA program that helps prep former athletes for second careers — is designed as a professional development course for inmates preparing for similar transitions into the workforce.

“These guys have never had access,” Brewer said, saying many of his students said they wouldn't be in prison if similar education programs were more readily available.

“I was in there for 6 hours teaching these guys and they were transforming,” Brewer said. “They didn’t know what a stock or bond (TNX) meant, [but] after I left they knew about shorting stocks, they understood the market, they understood accounting principles — this is what we’re supposed to do. Serve.”

Why America’s current prison system ‘doesn’t make sense’

Eighty-three percent of inmates across the nation are arrested again within nine years of their release, according to data from The Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Brewer thinks private prisons could do better.

“I had cancer in my throat. I went to a private hospital to get fixed because it was the best hospital — why don’t we treat our prison population the same?” Brewer asked.

“Why don't we let our prison population go to the best quality care so that they get out and can at least get a job instead of continuing to do crimes that hurt our communities? It doesn’t make sense,” he added.

Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance.

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