A 2019 U.S. Sentencing Commission report on recidivism among federal prisoners, showed that nearly 64% of prisoners who had been convicted of violent offenses were arrested within eight years.
Marcus Bullock, CEO of Flikshop, initially built Flikshop as a way for incarcerated individuals to stay connected to their families and loved ones. Marcus describes getting mail in prison to hitting the lottery, “it’s the only way for you to know that someone loves you on the other side of that fence because typically family members and friends do not have the time to write a handwritten letter or develop photos these days.” After seeing firsthand how difficult it was to maintain and strengthen relationships while incarcerated, Marcus knew he wanted to build something that would not only reduce the feeling of isolation while imprisoned and allow for more connectivity with the outside world, but also something that would break the cycle of incarceration and recidivism. “Prison can be lonely, depressing, violent and dark. Imagine living in this environment for years, or decades even, and then being told that you are finally released from the cage and that you must succeed at a high level, but haven’t had any contact with the world to help you remember what community feels like,” explained Marcus.
Flikshop is Bullock’s second startup post-release. In 2005, he successfully launched a contracting business aimed at employing returning citizens post-release with clients including Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Georgetown University, and National Press Club. Bullock grew his contractors by hiring friends that were also released from prison and other formerly incarcerated individuals that were all plagued by the infamous question, “have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
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