Financial Literacy for Inmates

recidivism, literacy,

October 28, 2020



Financial literacy for inmates opens up many possibilities and opportunities. For example, Curtis "Wall Street" Carrol, an ex-con with over 3 million views on YouTube, became a stock investing genius while serving time in prison. Carrol discusses in a TED talk how he picked up a book at 20 while serving time and developed knowledge discipline, financial literacy, etc. Carroll is also known as the inmate teaching financial literacy behind bars.

Countless felons stumbled upon financial literacy while serving time. Furthermore, there is the world-famous bodybuilder Kali Muscle with YouTube videos amassing over millions of views. Another ex-convict who has come out of prison to create a positive life for himself is based on his financial literacy knowledge. He currently spends time mentoring new YouTubers on increasing their "brand awareness," views, and subscribers.

According to Morris (2015), improving the financial literacy for inmates has positive implications for the matriculation back into society at the end of their sentences. When the term felon or inmate is mentioned, part of the problem is the negative stigma associated with those terms. This further justifies Morris's work looking into financial literacy amongst inmates. In Morris' article, he cites what teachers of professional literacy have said about inmates:


  • Inmates love giveaways and promo items 
  • One of the most responsive audiences
  • Inmates are receptive and respectful

Based on this information, we could go as far as saying some of the prison inmates ended up there due to their lack of understanding of financial literacy. An inmate in Morris' work cited falling victim to the Payday loan trap. These high-interest rate loans that just put peoples' finances into a whirlwind when they can't make payments. Think about what drives certain people to do to obtain the means to pay back a loan. Essentially, with financial literacy becoming more widespread, we could drastically reduce the crime rate on a national level. This is evident with the inmates who spoke in Morris' interviews and the fact that even the public educational system is making a huge push to get financial literacy into high school classrooms as part of the mandated curriculum. Financial literacy for inmates is extremely important but equally important is financial literacy for all students.

In closing, financial literacy is certainly a game-changer in our society. Going back to Curtis Carroll and Kali Muscle, what is unique about these gentlemen is that they served time in prison and found a way to use their financial literacy knowledge to create successful careers for themselves. They are very humble, and their delivery instills this belief that anyone can achieve what they achieved. It will not surprise if coursework in financial literacy becomes a graduation requirement across the United States.



Morris, C. (2015). Empowering inmates through financial education in jails. Retrieved from

Carroll, C. (2017). How I learned to read -- and trade stocks -- in prison | Curtis "Wall Street."
arroll. Ted Talk.