From claimant to contributor, how humanist entrepreneurship supports social inclusion and effective rehabilitation: The case of Phoenix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

Every passing issue of British Journal for Community Justice brings a fresh report detailing how neoliberalism is failing the “lower socio-demographic groups” or the prison and probation system is failing to rehabilitate ex-offenders. In most cases, the problem is not purely lack of funding, so much as a failure in the approach and philosophy (Corcoran & Carr, 2019). The concept of a National Curriculum presupposes a homogeneity among learners that is simply not there. Similarly, policy and society objectify ex-offenders building almost insurmountable barriers to their reintegration into society. This makes high levels of recidivism almost inevitable among a group whose employment prospects are no better than the poverty-stricken countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Through the lens of Amartya Sen’s “Capability Approach”, which is transforming international development, “critical pedagogy”, which argues for a more learner empowered approach and literature on “what works in rehabilitation”, this article examines the case of Phoenix, a highly successful programme that rehabilitates ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed through enterprise. It concludes that teaching those in prison or on release from prison about entrepreneurship achieves very little. Instead we should be instilling in them the capability to function as an entrepreneur. It is the process of reinvention from marginalised by society to symbiotic with society that creates both successful enterprise and rehabilitation. This case study contributes both to criminology and entrepreneurship pedagogy, providing an example for policy makers in social justice, researchers and practitioners. The growing body of evidence of what works in desistence from crime offers little about why or how. This article aims to fill some of that gap.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Management
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020

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