Aventiv Advisory Board chairperson Teresa Hodge was recently invited to participate in a Milken Institute Global Conference panel discussion. 

Alongside prison reform experts and innovators from other tech corporates and not-for-profit organizations during an hour-long discussion titled Innovators Rethinking Criminal Justice Systems, Hodge addressed many topics, which included: 

  • New approaches to preventing at-risk individuals from entering the justice system. 
  • Revolutionizing prison-management practices. 
  • Pioneering novel approaches to rehabilitation both during and after incarceration. 

“I heard a statistic that said if you have 10,000 hours (about 1 year 1 and a half months) of experience in something, you become an expert and I was in prison for 10,000 hours so I became an expert,” said Hodge, who is also CEO and President of Mission: Launch, a non-profit working to increase opportunities for justice-impacted individuals.

“The work that I do today is hyper-focused on reentry, and I want to make sure that when people return from prison that it doesn’t ruin the rest of their lives. Technology is underutilized in this space and so what I work on are hackathons where we convene, bring stakeholders together and figure out where technology can be interjected in the reentry process; we’re looking for solutions and how to scale them across the country.”

Mission: Launch has been hosting hackathons since 2014.  Aventiv has been a sponsor of the hackathons for the last two years.

Fellow panelist and MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber mentioned he attended one of the prior hackathons in previous years.

Hodge said with U.S. conviction rates rising, tablets are a way to provide opportunities for better reentry outcomes and job readiness for individuals while they are still incarcerated.

 “When we’re thinking of innovation, how do we bring more programming, more resources to the people who have nothing but time and make sure that we start to maximize that time for them so that we can pipeline them to opportunities?” Hodge said. “We are using tablets because we know prisons are understaffed so we must bring innovation inside of the prison facilities.

“And then when people come home, we have to make sure they have opportunities to continue that innovation and be able to connect them to jobs quicker.”  

Hodge concluded the panel on a personal note on the future of mass incarceration.

“I remain an optimist,” Hodge said. “I work on reentry because I know that the people who are in prison, they’re hopeful today for their future tomorrow and I want to do my part to create pathways and solutions.”  

“I personally believe America is a great nation, but a great nation has to take care of all its citizens and that includes individuals who have conviction records.”  

It was the 27th annual Milken gathering, and Hodge joined a lineup of prominent investment bankers, institutional investors, celebrities and politicians at the think tank’s gathering to promote progress and prosperity.

Platinum Equity owns Aventiv Technologies, a technology platform that provides telecommunications services for the incarcerated community.

The company has provided technology to correctional facilities for more than three decades. Over the past five years, the company says it has invested more than $600 million to provide 600,000 tablets to incarcerated individuals to help bridge the digital divide.

Under Platinum Equity’s stewardship, the company has invested heavily in technology, educational programming and training, career fairs and forged strategic partnerships to help prepare members of the incarcerated community for reentry. The company also seated an advisory board (chaired by Hodge) of reentry experts and advocates in early 2022.

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