Returning Citizens


The Problem.

The United States accounts for less than five percent of the global population but nearly 25% of the global prison population. To make matters worse, more than 4 in 10 prisoners are re-arrested upon release. For those who stay on the outside, barriers to jobs and housing lead too many to homelessness.


Our Solution.

Commonwealth formed an operating partnership with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) to create a venture fund for Second Chance businesses. Since 2004, PEP has produced the nation’s leading results in the prison rehabilitation industry by dramatically reducing return-to-prison rates while considerably increasing employment rates and business ownership. Now Commonwealth will help accelerate that success via impact investing.

Returning Citizens

Upcoming Events


Returning Citizens

In the fall of 2020, PEP and Commonwealth with host the 2nd annual Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator pitch competition on the historic Rice University campus in Houston. Here PEP alumni entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to investors.

Past Events


Returning Citizens

RPM Diesel Repair

FSO Construction & Management

Cherokee Acres Homes

On November 20th, 2019, PEP hosted the “Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator—Fueling Growth through Impact Investing” at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The event showcased three Prison Entrepreneurship Program graduate-owned companies.  Sharks included Mark Holden (Koch Industries), Biggs Burke (record executive and film producer), Doug Deason (Dallas investor), and Joe Horford (PEP Pennsylvania founder).

Learn More