By Arti Finn
Co-founder of APDS and Corrections Reform Advocate
In the vast landscape of social reform, the power of education stands tall. As the co-founder of APDS and an ambassador for the 2nd Chances @ Work campaign, my mission is rooted in the belief that education, bolstered by career readiness, can unlock potential, transform trajectories, and rebuild lives for the estimated 1.77M individuals currently incarcerated in the U.S.
In 2014, I co-founded APDS with a singular mission: to prepare every justice-impacted individual for a sustainable career. We know the power of education; those participating in postsecondary education programs are 48% less likely to be re-incarcerated. By offering custom educational pathways and career training, we equip individuals incarcerated with the tools they need to thrive upon reentry into society.
“Education goes beyond the classroom; it nurtures personal growth, critical thinking, and the development of essential life skills.”
Arti Finn, Co-Founder APDS
It also has the remarkable ability to empower individuals, instill hope, and open doors to new opportunities. As such, at APDS, education is synonymous with career readiness and life skill development for successful reentry.
To ensure that incarcerated individuals regain their sense of purpose and are given the tools and resources needed to rebuild their lives upon release after using our course, APDS commits itself to creating tailored innovative educational solutions. By leveraging digital technology and co-creating curriculum with formerly incarcerated teachers and experts, we ensure that our programs are relevant, engaging, and impactful. And, we ensure our technology leverages data to track and monitor outcomes and must be paired with support.
Unfortunately we also know that the current correctional system has numerous barriers for incarcerated individuals seeking education from limited access to educational resources, overcrowded facilities, and restrictive policies. Futhermore, education alone cannot bring about transformative change within the correctional system. Hence, a comprehensive approach that addresses broader issues such as mental health support, addiction treatment, and effective reentry programs is required. Collaboration among educators, policymakers, correctional officers, and community stakeholders is crucial in implementing effective corrections reform initiatives. As advocates for change, we are responsible for breaking down these barriers and creating an environment that nurtures personal growth, empowers individuals, and allows them to reach their full potential. Collectively, we can create a system that improves outcomes, promotes rehabilitation, reduces recidivism rates, and fosters safer and more inclusive communities.
As co-founder of APDS and a dedicated advocate for corrections reform, I remain committed to creating programmatic opportunities that empower incarcerated individuals and provide them with the tools needed to build a brighter future. I invite you to join in on our efforts to continue to push for change, support transformative education, and work towards a more just and inclusive society for all.