Justice-impacted entrepreneurs shared their journeys to creating digital employment solutions to boost fair chancing hiring and drive industry change

September 12, 2023 — ݮƵIOS, a technology company delivering secure and affordable products to bridge the digital divide and help America’s 1.9 million incarcerated individuals successfully reenter society, hosted several discussions as part of the (APPA) 48th Annual Training Institute. Aventiv used the forum to convene justice-impacted individuals who have created innovative solutions that help those reentering their communities break through barriers to gain access to fair chance job opportunities.

Employment after incarceration reduces an individual’s likelihood of returning to prison. Justice-impacted entrepreneurs, Harley Blakeman, Founder and CEO of , and Laurin Leonard, Co-Founder and CEO of , came together in a panel discussion, “Incarcerated to Tech Entrepreneurs: Navigating Reentry Barriers to Digital Workforce Solutions,” to share their personal stories on disrupting the criminal justice system with technology-driven workforce solutions that help those with records secure employment.

“In any major opportunity in our lives, there is usually a box we all have to check. Have you ever been convicted of a crime? And ultimately, when we are assessed by the decision maker the criminal background check becomes the key gatekeeper for opportunity. This pain point is most often felt in workforce because 9-out-10 employers use background checks as a screening tool. This reality is, legacy background checks can be unintentional roadblocks, which is why we decided to disrupt this space in 2018 with the launch of R3 Score technology, which is a more holistic background check.” – Laurin Leonard, R3 Score

Blakeman’s Honest Jobs is a nationwide job board specifically designed for justice-involved individuals, while Leonard’s company, R3 Score, launched a new app, R3UP, as a companion tool to help Aventiv tablet holders plan for their reentry through engaging content and be pre-screened for jobs and opportunities in advance of their release. Both innovative solutions are supported through Aventiv’s pioneering initiative, a first-of-its-kind secure, technical development ‘box’ or environment for justice-impacted entrepreneurs to develop, launch, and distribute their products.

“Each year, more than 600,000 people nationwide return from prison to their communities. However, nearly 63% of formerly incarcerated people are still unemployed a year after release, increasing the likelihood they will return to prison,” said , Director of Community Engagement for ݮƵIOS. “We hope our sponsorship and presence at APPA provided another platform to shed light on the obstacles justice-impacted individuals face, and how the Justice Sandbox can inspire industry change and open doors for those eager to begin the next chapter.”

Beyond the panel discussion, Aventiv co-sponsored APPA’s Inaugural Job Fair, in collaboration with The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Smart Start Inc., bringing together approximately 100 formerly incarcerated individuals currently on parole and probation in their journey toward meaningful employment with forward-thinking employers who are committed to fair chance hiring. New York-based employers held engaging discussions with the goal of scheduling interviews and filling open job opportunities.

The job fair concluded with a fireside chat moderated by Shamia Lodge, Director of Community Engagement for ݮƵIOS, while also featuring Blakeman and Leonard, who championed the importance of fair chance hiring and the opportunity to work with the often-untapped market of justice-involved job seekers.

Since launching Honest Jobs on Securus tablets in early 2023, incarcerated individuals have conducted more than 3.6 million job searches on the devices, helping individuals prepare for applying and interviewing once released.

“As a kid I lived in a trailer park, was a homeless teenager and went to prison. I came out and built a company that helps people like me find a job faster. Now we have 1,400 companies using Honest Jobs. 85,000 people have connected with fair chance employers, and 5-million searches are happening inside the facilities. The reward is in the lives changed. Hopefully this will cause a generational impact where kids will have parents who are not reoffending, and those kids will have kids that didn’t have a parent in prison. We want to see the ripple effect of people having stable lives and incomes.” – Harley Blakeman, Honest Jobs

ݮƵIOS is a proud fair chance employer and continues to invest in propelling second chance initiatives forward, empowering justice-impacted individuals and driving innovation within the justice system. To discover how ݮƵIOS is shaping the future of justice and innovation, please visit ݮƵIOS.

Media Contact:

Jade Trombetta



About Aventiv

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ݮƵIOS serves more than 3,450 public safety, law enforcement, and corrections agencies and over 1,100,000 incarcerated individuals across North America. Aventiv is committed to serve and connect by providing emergency response, incident management, public information, investigation, biometric analysis, communication, information management, incarcerated self-service, and monitoring products and services in order to make our world a safer place to live. For more information, please visit or . Aventiv is a portfolio company of . Founded in 1995 by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with a portfolio of approximately 40 operating companies that serve customers around the world.

About Honest Jobs

Honest Jobs (www.honestjobs.com) is the nation’s leading employment platform for people impacted by the criminal legal system. Founded in 2018, Honest Jobs developed a job board to address the specific needs of job seekers with criminal records, dramatically reducing rejection and the time it takes for job seekers to find employment (up to 8x faster). Honest Jobs’ Founder and CEO, Harley Blakeman, was previously incarcerated due to felony convictions, and many of the employees at Honest Jobs are also justice-involved. Since its inception, Honest Jobs has grown to over 80,000 job seekers, 1,400 fair-chance employers, and a network of 20,000+ community-based partners.

About R3 Score Technologies, Inc.

R3 Score Technologies, Inc. is a Baltimore, Maryland-based Software-as-a-Service company founded in 2018. The company’s signature product, the R3 Score Report, is a more contextualized criminal background check report that offers better insights into talent and consumer segmentation for businesses and governments. R3 Score recently expanded its product portfolio with R3Up – an Android app exclusively available on ݮƵIOS prison tablets nationwide. To learn more about R3 Score, visit www.R3Score.com.