Defy – Tri-State

Defy Ventures was founded in 2010 in New York City and has continued to make a significant impact on formerly and currently incarcerated people. Two years later, Defy Tri-State launched its post-release program for people in the community with criminal histories and a business and entrepreneurship incubator for program participants seeking to start their own businesses.

Working closely with the New York Department of Correctional Services as well as the Connecticut Department of Correctional Services, Defy launched its in-prison program, CEO of Your New Life, in Wallkill Correctional Facility starting 2015 and York Correctional Institute on December 2017.

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Meet the Local Team

Jason Wang, Executive Relations Manager

Jason currently serves Defy as the Executive Relations Manager in New York leading fundraising, recruitment, and corporate partnerships. At the age of 15, Jason was incarcerated for a 1st degree felony and given a 12 year sentence. After being released from prison, Jason joined Defy’s incubator program as an EIT (entrepreneur-in-training) and started two technology businesses. Jason is an ex-management consultant (Alvarez and Marsal) and earned an MBA in finance and accounting as well as a Master of Science degree in International Business from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Terrell Hall, Post-Release Program Manager

Terrell serves as Defy’s Post-Release Program Manager in New York. In this role, Terrell is responsible for Post-Release operations, including curriculum, and case management, data entry and record keeping. Terrell is a formerly incarcerated individual who spent his time in prison educating himself and others. He received CASAC Certification from St. Joseph’s Addiction and Recovery Center, and is certified as an HIV/AIDS Educator by the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. Terrell received Offender Employment Specialist (OES) Facilitator Training at FCI-Ray Brook. Training content included: job counseling & development, employment retention and advancement, and client-centered action planning,

Terrell created a collaborative youth mentoring program at The Bridge. At Action for a Better Community, he served as a Health Team Member, conducting HIV/AIDS seminars and events. For the New York State Department of Corrections, Terrell facilitated Aggression Replacement Training (ART) and worked at a youth assistance program, where he assisted at-risk adolescents develop social, communication and other skills, and conducted seminars on youth and law, goal setting and change theory.


Where We Serve

Wallkill Correctional Facility: Wallkill Correctional Facility is a medium security level correctional facility. Built in 1932, Wallkill Correctional Facility is designed to house inmates that are nearing the last 5 years of their sentence and can house up to 606 men.

York Correctional Facility for Women: York Correctional Institute is located in Niantic, CT and is a high-security facility. It serves as the state’s only institution for female offenders.


Post-Release

The Post-Release Program for Defy Ventures Tri-State started in 2012. Not only serving individuals who started the CEO YNL program in the state correctional facilities, New York’s Post-Release program looks to offer another opportunity for advancement to individuals with criminal histories who have been living in the community for a while. We’re building a community of support for our EITs where they will have a strong bond with people who genuinely care about their success and will not remember them for the worst thing they’ve ever done. Focusing on employment readiness, character development and entrepreneurship training, Defy Ventures Tri-State is working with EITs to prepare them for success by connecting them with community resources, mentors and networking opportunities.


Local Impact

In Prison

  • Current Enrollment: 50
  • Cumulative Enrollment: 382
  • Graduated: 191
  • Cumulative Overall Retention Rate: 54%
  • Currently Enrolled Retention Rate: 96%

Post Release

  • Current Enrollment: 63
  • Recidivism rate: < 5%
  • Number of Businesses Founded: 101
  • Completed Post-Release Programming: 276

Local Board Members

Defy Ventures Tri-State Board of Directors

  • Jeremy Shure – Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Marcus Glover – Partner, Southbox Ventures

How to Get Involved 

Contact Jason Wang at [email protected]

Find a list of upcoming events here.

Donate to Defy Tri-State