Respect the Hustle: Necessity Entrepreneurship, Returning Citizens, and Social Enterprise Strategies

78 Md. L. Rev. (2019 Forthcoming)

WVU College of Law Research Paper No. 2018-013

59 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2018 Last revised: 22 Apr 2020

See all articles by Priya Baskaran

Priya Baskaran

American University Washington College of Law

Date Written: March 20, 2018


This Article addresses a pervasive and growing problem for returning citizens – high rates of economic insecurity – and as a novel solution, proposes the creation of Economic Justice Incubators a new municipally led social enterprise strategy.

Mass incarceration is a national problem and requires comprehensive criminal justice reform. In contrast, the process of reentry is locally focused thanks to a complex web of collateral consequences. An estimated 641,000 people return home from prison each year, many to a limited number of economically distressed communities. Once released, their mobility is limited by the terms of their parole and the collateral consequences associated with their conviction. Successful reentry initiatives require strong community and local government investment, dedicated to supporting returning citizens post-release. Without targeted, short-term policy solutions, these individuals will remain trapped within the cycle of poverty and criminalization within these disadvantaged geographic spaces. This Article focuses one major obstacle that has repeatedly impeded successful reentry: economic insecurity and disenfranchisement from viable employment opportunities.

The existing nonprofit model is intrinsically flawed as means of economic enfranchisement. This model has several drawbacks, including the failure to adapt to the lack of available jobs within disadvantaged geographic spaces and the larger transition to a knowledge based economy. As a new strategy, this Article proposes municipally led Economic Justice Incubators (EJIs) to support returning citizen entrepreneurs. I advocate for municipalities to expand on the current municipal business incubator model, democratizing access to these government sponsored business services and local investment efforts in private enterprise.

Keywords: nonprofit, social enterprise, reentry, returning citizen, incubator, community economic development, 501c3, charitable organization, collateral consequences

JEL Classification: K

Suggested Citation

Baskaran, Priya, Respect the Hustle: Necessity Entrepreneurship, Returning Citizens, and Social Enterprise Strategies (March 20, 2018). 78 Md. L. Rev. (2019 Forthcoming), WVU College of Law Research Paper No. 2018-013, Available at SSRN:

Priya Baskaran (Contact Author)

American University Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Ave NW
Washington, DC, DC 20016
United States

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