The Freedom House Reentry Education and Employment Corporation (FREE) in Woodland Hills, California is a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and resources for people who have been incarcerated, with the goal of preventing them from returning to a lifestyle that leads to a jail cell.
According to the organization, seven out of ten former inmates will be behind bars again within three years without some form of intervention.
FREE has begun a campaign to raise funds for a cultivation facility that will employ former cannabis convicts. Revenue generated from the facilities will go toward FREE’s programs and communities.
“At FREE, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance,” writes the organization on their website. “That’s why we’re creating the first-of-its-kind marijuana grow facility that employs people of color who have been formerly incarcerated for marijuana related offenses.”
The Two Million Square Feet of Hope program is projected to create thousands of jobs paying an average annual salary of $52,000 with benefits.
Over the next six months, FREE is aiming to raise $500,000 to build their first cultivation and processing site.
The organization is currently accepting donations via their website for the irrigation system, grow lights and tables, and the extraction lab. Those who donate $420 will have the chance to have a strain of cannabis named after them.
“Once the very thing that got people into jail,” states the narrator of a FREE video promoting the campaign. “Marijuana will become the very thing that keeps them out.”