Impact Tech | November 11, 2020

‘Justice tech’ entrepreneurs look to disrupt the cycle of recidivism

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, November 11 — The U.S. criminal justice system has created an industry of extractive products and services that cost the government, citizens and families of incarcerated individuals at least $182 billion per year. A new crop of ‘justice tech’ entrepreneurs are looking to disrupt this system with new tools and services to help the formerly incarcerated navigate life outside. “There is a lack of market awareness and a strong perception of risk among investors who do not see justice tech as a core investment area but may work in related or interconnected verticals,” Village Capital’s Marcia Rosado told ImpactAlpha.

Lived experience

Black Americans face higher incarceration rates than white Americans and worse prospects of reintegrating into society, increasing their odds of ending back up in prison. “It is essential that the solutions to today’s social issues be born from those who have lived experience,” Rosado and American Family Insurance’s Nyra Jordan write in “The Ethical Disruption of the Criminal and Civil Justice System.

Startup pipeline

R3 Score Technologies’ software-as-a-service platform creates real-time assessments of formerly incarcerated applicants when they apply for a job, car loan or a house. The startup was launched by Teresa Hodge, who was herself formerly incarcerated, and her daughter. Flikshop allows people to cheaply send messages to their incarcerated loved ones. 70 Million Jobs helps people with criminal records get a fair shot at employment. And Courtroom5 creates a legal toolbox to help people with civil cases.