Writing business

Tuck School of Business | First-year ESG-focused projects deliver advice with impact

The United States government spends about $85 billion each year on jails and prisons, but half of those released from prisons are reincarcerated within three years. For many scholars, this presents an intractable challenge, but for Kakeru Tsubota T’23 and his FYP team, it also demonstrated market failure.

Tsubota and his teammates, Addie Bodell, Elyse Curtis, Jordan Figueroa and Margaux Richman, have teamed up with Dream Corps, a California-based nonprofit that works on criminal justice reform. Dream Corps had already identified on-the-ground supporters for new approaches in the state, but needed a strategic framework to focus those efforts and create a sustainable program they could replicate in other states.

The team, who had little background knowledge of the prison industry, spent the first two weeks researching facts and talking to stakeholders. Work closely with Ruby Welchan expert on the incarceration cycle in Arkansas, they defined what Tsubota calls the “client journey” of newly released inmates.

“You have three steps to consider,” he says. “The first two days are critical. You have no money, transport or accommodation. Unless you find help within those two days, you risk ending up in jail. Then you have two weeks during which you have to find a job. You not only need a resume, but also an explanation of your time in prison. Then you have the ongoing process of parole and rehabilitation for life.

While many programs address different aspects of transitioning, Tsubota says, it was largely up to individual advocates like Welch to connect inmates to a patchwork of resources. “Our challenge was to provide comprehensive services that don’t rely on just one person,” he says.

After a visit to Arkansas to see the problem firsthand, the team arrived at a structured model of peer support, in which formerly incarcerated mentors would be trained and paid to work with newly released inmates to provide support. logistics and personnel.

As a final deliverable, the team developed a pitch deck outlining the specifics of a program that Dream Corps could implement and scale. They designed a minimum viable product, a 36-month scale-up plan, identified KPIs, and suggested possible funding sources, including government grants and corporate sponsors. Dream Corps, Tsubota reports, is exploring the next steps needed to bring the program to life. The project will also continue in Tuck, where clinical professor Hanne Pico Larsen is writing a case based on the work.