MASON, Mich. (WLNS)—The Ingham County Jail began a new correspondence program called, “Hustle 2.0,” where inmates can learn about various skills and ultimately change their life around.
Cynthia Johnson, the program coordinator for the Ingham County Jail, reached out to Hustle 2.0 , which is based in California. Johnson’s goal was to help inmates start a 30-day course using a book that teaches entrepreneurship, healthy relationships, leadership, criminal thinking, employment and more.
Once inmates complete the entire course they take a final exam and earn a certificate.
The book is was chosen to teach inmates because a portion of the text was written by individuals who carry a criminal past, and the verbiage is written in slang that inmates may fully understand. For instance, a chapter on entrepreneurship is called, “transform yo hustle.”
“Healthy relationships is called, ‘cupcakin 1-0-1’ so what they’re doing is they’re putting it in the language the inmates are used to speaking,” Johnson said.
Although, the books are paid in part by funds available in the Ingham County Criminal Justice Programming millage in addition to donations from the community Johnson is asking the local community to sponsor an inmate or purchase the Hustle 2.0 book because it shows they have support. Johnson says when a person donates a book it gives the inmate a sense of hope and relief.
“They’re like wow, it makes you feel good it makes you feel good that they are interested and they appreciate that.” Johnson stated.
Johnson also stated inmates would also send thank you cards to sponsors and donators.
Captain Robert Earle is the Correctional Facility Administrator and educates inmates about the program. He says if the community wants to learn more about the inmates before sponsoring, or donating Hustle 2.0 they can search the information on their website.
“If you want to know the individual stories of somebody how they’re going to turn their life around you actually read their story and their plan on the website it says how they want to better themselves when they leave jail,” Captain Robert Earle suggested.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many programs operate. During the pandemic Captain Earle said it was hard to find individual programs for inmates to learn. However, hustle 2.0 lets them educate themselves in their own jail cells.
However, both Johnson and Captain Earle say the most important lesson is the life skills they learn when they go home to their families.
“As the jail staff we don’t want to see people come back in here so if we can find them skills necessary to succeed on the outside,” Captain Earle stated, “then absolutely we want to correct that behavior and get them back in the community.”