Awesome Brother: Former Inmate Gives Opportunities to Help Ex-Offenders Get on their Feet

Lonnie Hunt, a former inmate, hires ex-offenders for his business in Oklahoma. Despite conventional misperception, Hunt believes that former felons work harder than those who have never been to jail. Giving jobs to former inmates is important to the community and Hunt sees this as his chance to give back while making a profit. Corrections officers say that joblessness encourages recidivism for former inmates, causing them to return to crime. Businesses like Hunt’s not only help them stay out of jail, but it will also save Oklahoma tax payers a lot of money. It costs $20,000 a year for the state to provide for one inmate.

Hunt’s business, Guaranteed Construction, consists of over 12 employees that work to repair buildings in Oklahoma City. The city’s major hailstorm provides them with plenty of work, especially roof work. Hunt is a more-than-qualified construction worker, who received his certification from CareerTech Service Center in plumbing while behind bars in the Joseph Harp Correctional Center.

In 2008, a local plumbing business gave Hunt a job and the opportunity to rebuild his life. In his own business, Hunt believes in hiring former inmates as a way of giving back. But Hunt does not just pick up strays, he only takes on hard-workers. Hunt does not exclusively hire felons, as most of his employees are not felons.  But the ones that he does hire appreciate the job because they know that its nearly impossible to get a fresh start after prison.

Men like Lonnie Hunt are both heroes and examples to the African American community.  America incarcerates black men at a rate that is seven times greater than white males.  Also, black men are more likely to go to prison even when they commit the same crimes as whites.   For many of these men, incarceration turns into a life sentence, where they can’t vote for life and can’t get jobs after checking “the little box” that asks if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony.

Entrepreneurship is one of the few paths of hope for men who’ve been incarcerated.  Lonnie Hunt, by owning his own business, is not only free from the grips of oppression, he is also able to provide for his family and help other men to do the same.  Black men are better off when they are entirely and completely free.




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4 Responses to Awesome Brother: Former Inmate Gives Opportunities to Help Ex-Offenders Get on their Feet

  1. Ken Bright July 16, 2012 at 9:29 am

    This is surely ‘GREEN THINKING’ 4 sure. Big Up to this initiative on behalf of those who want to change there mindset 4 a better life.

  2. Big Papa August 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Most Black men if given the opportunity will work when given the chance.I also believe that if the felony is for stealing and no one injured or life was not taken then that individual should be excused of that felony and have the chance of a productive life especially if there is family involved.sometimes these crimes are committed due to lack of employment. Education or not, most often, whites will be employed before a person of color here in America and especially in the south! White employers will pay a white employee a higher rate of pay than a person of color. Take a survey or a poll on that subject and print the results.
    Most companies in an effort to maximize profits in today’s economy, will pay minimum wage without benefits knowing that it’s very difficult to survive with the cost of living being well above an seven or 8.25 an hour job. Yet, there are those who believe it is important enough to sacrifice all of America for mitten Romney and take this country into deeper recession and lost of jobs or keep everyone at or below minimum wage! It will be Racisim that takes this country down as well as Greed!

  3. Big Papa August 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    More people who are like Mr. Lonnie Hunt Should be throughout this country and do what he is doing, giving a hand up! Kudos to Mr. Hunt. Thank you sir.

  4. Jess August 31, 2012 at 6:19 am



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