Posts Tagged ‘alvin massey’

Great news! Photos are now available from the Class #Transcendent 22 Kickoff … as well as their headshots and some special images from a recent Houston Press article on PEP!

See the whole gallery here:

Special thanks to our long-time photographer, Israel Thompson, for these amazing images. We especially love this shot of three graduates who now work for PEP …. Al Massey (Executive Relations Manager), Marcus Hill (Recruiter), and Charles Hearne (Development Associate).

Most PEP Staff members are also graduates, including Al Massey, Marcus Hill and Charles Hearne.

Most PEP Staff members are also graduates, including Al Massey, Marcus Hill and Charles Hearne.

PEP Graduate Al Massey was invited to speak to the Waxahachie Rotary Club, and the local paper wrote this article about his presentation.

Prison Entrepreneurship at Rotary

Al Massey of Prison Entrepreneurship Program

By John Hamilton Waxahachie Rotarian

Half of all felons return to prison after serving their terms and being released. They go back to the old neighborhoods and their old ways, commit another felony and wind up back in prison. In fact, there are about seven million people in U.S. prisons which is twice the rate in Iran. Al Massey explained one way which has been reducing the rate of returns to prison from half to five percent. He is involved with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) at the Texas Department of Protection pre-release unit in Cleveland, Texas. The problem as PEP sees it is that people may learn in prison but they are not changed themselves. A drug dealer who learns about business in prison may be released to become a better drug businessman. PEP strives to make him a new man instead.

The process involves application, interview and evaluation. Felons who have less than three years left to serve and are not sex offenders may apply. They fill out a twenty-five page application then write an essay. Next, they are extensively interviewed. Those who are chosen are moved to the Cleveland unit. This is not a gated community. PEP only invests in prisoners who will invest in themselves. They are expected to work harder than they ever have before to meet the standards set for them in the1,000-plus hour program.
According to Mr Massey and their web page, PEP made up of servant leaders on a mission to transform inmates and executives by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education and mentoring. Their groundbreaking results include the three-year return-to-prison rate as low as five percent, an employment rate of one hundred percent within ninety days and over one hundred twenty businesses launched by graduates.
In addition to the business courses offered, and, perhaps more important, they are offered character development and courtesy training. They have mentors. They study more hours than they would if they were going to college and they are pushed and encouraged to dream the impossible. The impossible is that, at the end of their training, they will have prepared a business plan for a legal business after graduation. Graduates earn a “Certificate in Entrepreneurship” from Baylor University.
After graduation they are released to a transitional home which is not near the area they came from. It is a new environment without the old influences. There are case managers and they are given a package that includes everything they need to start out even including sheets and pillows. If they want to start a business they are eligible for a KIVA loan up to $5,000. There is no handout; it is a hand up.
Graduates are truly transformed with new knowledge, new opinions of themselves and a new outlook on life. They expect to be successful and they have been so far.
For more information visit the web site at or sign up for their newsletter at Mr Massey may be reached at 281-881-5794 or

For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie where we believe in Service Above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club website at You can find American flag subscription forms on the website.

The University of Houston’s newspaper, “The Daily Cougar,” recently ran an article about the university’s students involvement in PEP. You can see the article online here, but it is also included below.

Students in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship in the C.T. Bauer College of Business have been volunteering for years at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, an entrepreneurial extension of the Texas Prison System, which has graduated more 800 inmates.

Through the Business Plan Advisor Program, MBA students volunteer to teach inmates how to write business plans and pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures.

“This is a remote volunteer program through which MBA students can receive business plans being developed by incarcerated participants in our program,” said Jeremy Gregg, the chief development officer at PEP. “The students provide feedback on the plans and help with market research.”

This outreach program at the Wolff Center is recognized for impacting and transforming the lives of inmates and volunteers.

Al Massey, UH alumnus and executive relations manager for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, is an example for both volunteers and inmates.

While he was in prison serving a six-year sentence for intoxication manslaughter, he was recruited to participate in the program. After graduating, he stayed on as a peer educator until he was granted parole and released in May 2010. Shortly after, he began working at PEP and has demonstrated how people can be remembered for their positive actions.

Character Assessment

“We can all make mistakes when we take risks, and in my first 55 years of life I never thought I would be incarcerated,” Massey said. “PEP changed my character and made me the person that God meant for me to be by making me look at my faults.”

Any student Bauer who is interested in serving the community while gaining both teaching and entrepreneurship experience can look into the opportunity to volunteer through the Wolff Center.

“By being a business plan advisor or by volunteering in other areas with this program, students can help these men realize they are significant,” Massey said. “We cannot be the world to everyone, but we can be the world to one person. By volunteering, students can touch someone’s life and be the world to that person.”

Houston radio host Michael Barry talks with Al Massey, a graduate from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, about giving people a fresh start. Check it out!

Dinner at the Caleb House

Staff and volunteers sharing a meal with PEP graduates at the Caleb House

While we are proud of all that our participants accomplish within the prison, the hard work begins once they are released.

The first 90 days present tremendous challenges. In addition to the obvious burden of securing job interviews, our participants have to find reliable transportation to those interviews. For some, securing a form of identification such as a driver’s license or birth certificate can involve hours and hours of paperwork, phone calls and riding the bus from place to place.

At the same time, they are also dealing with a whole new world. Some of our participants have literally never used the Internet and never seen a smartphone, let alone used a tablet computer to fill out a job application.

During these challenging times, an encouraging word from a friend means a tremendous amount.

To provide more opportunities for our Houston-area volunteers to connect with our graduates during this critical period, we offer the following opportunities to join us for a meal and some fellowship:

  • Every Tuesday evening … dinner at the PEP office for recently released graduates attending our eSchool program. This is a weekly class taught by volunteer executives and entrepreneurs, with a focus on how to apply the principles that our participants learned during PEP’s in-prison programs. We share a meal for around 45  minutes beforehand, and you are welcome to stay for the presentation (or to leave after dinner). RSVP is required so that we can plan for your arrival.
  • 2nd Monday evening of each month… dinner at the Caleb House, one of our two transition homes in the Houston area. This is “family dinner” that lasts an hour or two, and provides a great opportunity to get to know our released graduates.
  • 4th Monday evening of each month… same as above, only this is dinner at the Covington House.

PLEASE NOTE: An RSVP is required to attend. Please contact Al Massey at if you are interested in joining us, or have any questions. We can then provide details on timing and location.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to transform the lives and families of our participants!