Frederick Hutson is the CEO and co-founder of Pigeonly, a platform that makes it easy for people to search, find, and communicate with an incarcerated loved one. Launched in 2012, Pigeonly makes it possible for subscribers to easily send printed photos, letters, greeting cards, postcards, and even online articles from any cell phone, tablet, or computer within a few clicks. One of Pigeonly’s most successful products is a low-cost VoIP phone solution, similar to Google Voice, for notoriously expensive prison phone calls. This product alone helps families save over $2MM/year in phone fees.
Our panelists will discuss the moral and business reasons for hiring folks impacted by the criminal justice system into currently vacant roles in the tech industry, including engineering, diverse technical recruiting, sales & customer service. All too often we hear stories about individuals with a (criminal) record who face hiring discrimination, thus limiting their hopes for financial stability and increasing the likelihood of recidivism. What’s even more staggering is that although many justice-involved individuals were incarcerated for relatively low-level offenses, the blemish of a criminal record often leaves them lacking sustainable options to support their families, creating a vicious cycle. The justice-involved population presents a unique chance for companies to fill gaps in the workforce with talented, hard-working, and often overlooked people. Bringing insight, discipline, and a distinct point-of-view, this group can be a force for positive change. It also presents companies with the opportunity to put some meat to their missions of creating “diverse, inclusive workplaces” — by offering a chance to those who have too often been victims of oppressive, racist systems, hiring managers can practice compassionate capitalism while supporting their bottom line. Twilio knocks down obstacles to communication. Together, we can knock down obstacles to hiring too.