The Reformed Prisoner Who Is Paying It Forward

Raul Baez spent twelve years in prison for armed robbery. While incarcerated, he found God and Christianity and became determined to help others who had also lost their way at some point. He decided to create WITO (We Innovatively Transform Ourselves), a nonprofit organization named after his son. WITO helps inmates make good decisions regarding personal finance and character development before they re-enter the world as free people. This program works, as demonstrated by the recidivism rates for those who graduate versus the New York state average. 67 percent or two-thirds of all New York inmates wind up back in the prison system – yet only 28 percent of those who graduate from Baez’s WITO program return. Baez dropped out of school in the seventh grade and was a drug addict for twenty-five years. “One thing it taught me was that you start where you’re at, with what you got, and you start now”, he says about his life experiences. His strength and willingness to give back are an inspiration to many. And his message of hope resonates with people from all walks of life.