“We’re not buying into the stigma of ‘once a prisoner always a prisoner,’’’ says Cameron Smith, Take2’s founder and CEO. “The worst thing is to have these guys going back to the outside world without any skills or any opportunity. What we’re doing is providing them hope. It’s about allowing them to improve their quality of life.”
Smith (SJC Class of 2003) started Take2 in an attempt to find a new tool to fix a broken system. Having worked in impact investment and recruitment, he had witnessed the permanent stain a conviction can have on someone’s job prospects, and the influence the stigma has on their reoffending.
“Some individuals may have made a mistake two years ago or even five years ago, and they had served their time according to our justice system,” he says. “But we as a society are actually serving a second sentence to these individuals, which is often lifelong for them. This impacts their families and contributes to cycles of crime.”
A few years ago, after being diagnosed with an serious autoimmune disease and ending up in hospital, Smith began reevaluating his own purpose and decided he would devote his energy to the area of society he felt needed it most.
This story first appeared in The SpinOff