MEDIA ADVISORY: Advancing Criminal Justice Reform in Baltimore, Local Civic Innovators Reconvene to Build Prototypes for Post Incarceration Reentry Solutions




Advancing Criminal Justice Reform in Baltimore, Local Civic Innovators Reconvene to

Build Prototypes for Post Incarceration Reentry Solutions


BALTIMORE, MD, June 16, 2016 – Just four months after hosting the Rebuilding Reentry

Design and Data Day, its inaugural Baltimore social justice event focused specifically on post

incarceration reentry, Mission: Launch, Inc. is reconvening city stakeholders (including more

than 20 recently released residents) committed to building viable prototypes for future



The Rebuilding Reentry Baltimore Build Day is a one-day event assembling engaged

citizens, from Baltimore and Washington, DC.; attendees have the collective focus of improving

service delivery outcomes for the formerly incarcerated and successfully navigating Baltimore

residents with arrest and conviction records back to the core of society. Based upon systems

gaps identified during the human centered design process of the February event, these reentry

prototypes will advance community sourced ideas, inclusive of the following areas: family

reunification services, probation/parole guidance, vital records/state ID provision, peer

mentorship and anti-stigma efforts.

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June 18th Build Day

Our next event is around the corner! Join on Sat. June 18th at the Impact Hub Baltimore for the Rebuilding Reentry Build Day. To learn more and register visit this site: 


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SXSW Video Interview - Prison Tech Boom

Prison Tech Boom: Social Outcomes and Entrepreneurs at the Library IdeaDrop House
Video posted on Vimeo by Idea Drop & ER&L

Prison Tech Boom: Social Outcomes and Entrepreneurs at the Library IdeaDrop House hosted by Knight Foundation

An unlikely market has opened, bringing VCs, government agencies, entrepreneurs, civic coders and nonprofits to the table. Prison (or jail) tech is hot and looks to heat up. This session will be moderated by Laurin Hodge, the daughter of a returning citizen and a co-founder of Mission: Launch, which hosts re-entry events to promote civic tech. Hodge invites two returning citizens (a person who has returned back to community after serving time in prison or jail) to talk about their commitment to the prison tech boom as well as their experiences as tech entrepreneurs after "doing time."

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WASHINGTON, DC., March 8, 2016 - Mission: Launch, Inc. is honored to announce the organization’s participation in two panels at this year’s showcase of tech, talent and innovation, South by Southwest (SXSW). Executive Director/Co-founder, Laurin Hodge, Executive Vice President (EVP)/Co-founder, Teresa Hodge and Director of Communications/Special Projects, Bryn Phillips will all make their first SXSW panelist presentations during the five (5) day SXSW Interactive. A Keynote Conversation featuring President Barack Obama on Friday, March 11th was recently announced as the highlight of this 30th anniversary event; First Lady Michelle Obama will be the opening Keynote at SXSW Music on Wednesday, March 16, marking the first time that a sitting President and First Lady have ever participated.

 Friday, March 11th, the Mission: Launch Co-founders, Laurin and Teresa Hodge, will be hosting a panel inclusive of Flikshop, Founder/CEO, Marcus Bullock. “Prison Tech Boom: Social Outcomes & Entrepreneurs” will address the market and industry demands for prison/jail technology, ways tech improves social outcomes and self-sufficiency for the formerly incarcerated and the growing interest & need for diversity in tech - inclusive of the 1-in-4 Americans with arrest and conviction histories. This panel convenes at 3:30pm CST at the Hilton Austin Downtown, 500 E. 4th St., Salon E.

“I am excited to host this panel. I look forward to interjecting conversations into SXSW that speak to (1) expanding the definition of diversity to include those locked out of more traditional work paths, (2) a growing demand for tech solutions that can adapt to prisons/jails, as well as (3) civic tech and the entrepreneurs who use their lived experiences to build the solutions they wish to see,” says Executive Director, Laurin Hodge. “Leading a panel with my mother and business partner, alongside our professional colleague, Marcus, is going to make for a friendly and fun conversation about the future of civic tech.”

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#GivingTuesday & Year-End Giving

For me the holidays are always full of excitement and expectation.  I purpose to slow down to rest, spend time with my loved ones, and think ahead towards the New Year - visioning how I want to stay motivated towards my goals.


This holiday season I am feeling all of this, but with a little extra oomph in the expectation department. Mission: Launch is raising $20,000 in an online giving campaign, which kicked off on Tuesday.  


Two days ago we celebrated #GivingTuesday globally, which is a day when individuals, organizations, and communities in 68 countries come together to donate, volunteer, and bring about real change locally.  We participated for the first time. I am expecting great things to happen, even though we’ve never attempted an online fundraiser like this before.


Leading up to this point, we relied on bootstrapping and the support of early contributors. Our organization has been built with the tears of lived experience (see our story here), small to medium sized financial gifts as well as countless early mornings and late nights. We are a classic startup. If you follow us this year would make it seem like an overnight success, but we seriously hope you don’t buy into those unfounded beliefs.


Yes, 2015 was an organizational turning point but there is no such thing as an overnight success in business – whether you are a not-for-profit or a for-profit. It is true that we were selected to spread our message of civic tech, innovation, and systems thinking at SXSW in 2016. And, indeed one of our favorite moments this year was that time MSNBC sent a camera crew to our 2nd Rebuilding Re-entry Hackathon.


Our team – those working with us now and in the past- has worked around the clock to get to this stage. That said, it is time to do something we’ve never done. This year we are soliciting general donations from a broader community. We are seeking the support of you and the communities you represent.


It is not easy to talk about mass incarceration or the obstacles to a successful, sustainable re-entry. That said, when 1-in-4 Americans has an arrest or conviction record it is an issue that impacts the majority of this country – in one form or another.


“Since 1980, Congress has steadily increased the size and scope of the federal criminal code and with it the federal prison population. In that period, the federal government has added an estimated 2,000 new crimes to the books, while the federal imprisonment rate has grown by an astounding 518 percent. During the same period, annual spending on the federal prison system rose 595 percent, from $970 million to more than $6.7 billion, after adjusting for inflation.” *



General awareness of the U.S. criminal justice system is increasing, which means we no longer have to spend a significant amount of time explaining the problem. Now we can jump straight to our solution and this means that now is the time to reinforce our commitment to expediting the re-entry process in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD region. We envision a time when returning citizens are able to quickly connect to the right services and governmental support, at the time right. We envision a time when returning citizens have access to affordable and easy-to-use tech solutions as a means to stay connected to community and resources. We envision a time when entrepreneurial training and meaningful opportunities towards self-sufficiency become viable pathways. 


Whether we are comfortable talking about criminal justice or not, the national attention we are seeing now makes this time in our country critical to addressing inequity and inequality.  Seizing this moment requires resources and money is the lifeline to positively intervening in the status quo – which is often a bleak outlook for the 700,000 Americans who return home from prison or jail annually.


With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all behind us I am hopeful you are ready to give, because now is the time to get out the give.


Throughout the month of December we are raising $20,000 to expand:


  • Our program Mission: LaunchPad, which was seeded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This program will provide entrepreneurship training and business development support for returning citizens as a means to economic self-sufficiency; and,
  • Our community based solutions, which are built by hundreds of helping hands that identify the barriers faced by individuals and build prototypes.  These prototypes, when scaled and introduced citywide, enable service provides, community organizers, and government agencies to shorten the time it takes to get back on your feet when you come home.


So if you are reading this allow me to make an earnest plea for your support. Will you give a financial contribution of any size today?  Also, will you helps us spread this message and forward this post to 5 people who might also be interested in supporting tech and community-built solutions towards improving outcomes for returning citizens?


Your financial contribution and support** (today and throughout this month) will power so much of what we do, and fuel us as we work towards our vision.  Your interaction through social media, participating in our civic engagements and building reentry prototypes in conjunction with Mission: Launch and the Rebuilding Re-Entry Coalition has helped elevate our work over the past year; you empower us to amplify the message around the necessity of efficient/effective reentry tools.


 To help us reach our goal of $20,000 please donate now. You can visit this weblink today through December 31st. 


Every contribution helps. Even if you bought us a cup of coffee every week (the equivalent of a $20 donation) or treated us to a weekly D.C. happy hour (the equivalent of $35 donation) it helps.  “Since 1980, the annual spending on the federal prison system rose 595 percent, from $970 million to more than $6.7 billion, after adjusting for inflation.”***


In solidarity with hugs and high-fives,


Laurin N. Hodge

Executive Director

Mission: Launch, Inc.


* The Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act | Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. Bobby Scott 

** If you would like to learn more about Mission: Launch and the giving opportunities beyond this online campaign contact Laurin Hodge, Executive Director by email at [email protected]. We are able to receive:

  • General donations;
  • Gifts of stock, securities and mutual funds;
  • Planned giving
  • Sponsorship and underwriting; and,
  • Major gifts.


*** The Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act | Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. Bobby Scott



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