Black Excellence

Convicted for Selling Weed, He Now Helps Others Start Small Businesses

first72plus, henry byous, weed conviction

In 2011, Henry Byous was arrested for selling cannabis to an undercover police officer. The arrest came right after he brought his girlfriend home from the hospital after she gave birth to their child.

His sentence? 7-10 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a former slave plantation with a brutal reputation.

While in prison, Henry earned his electrician certificate through a prison reentry program.

Henry told TheGrio about his prison experience: “You can come up here and do what’s right and go home,” Byous says of Angola Prison. “You could come up here and mess your life all the way up and never go home. And I was like, ‘Nah, I’m coming up and do what’s right and go home.”

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In 2013, Henry was released from prison and went on to start his own company, All Pro Maintenance Services, a company that provides electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning services. He now helps others start their own business by working with First72+.

First 72+ is an organization that’s devoted to “stop the cycle of incarceration by fostering independence and self-sustainability through education, stable and secure housing & employment, health care, and community engagement.” He participates in the program’s small business incubator to launch small businesses.

Henry says he has had direct involvement in the program’s 6 businesses.

“I can’t be more proud of myself. This is me. I’m doing this now,” said Henry. “This is my new life. Pat myself on the back. Let’s go. You know. My sons, hope [they] follow in dad’s footsteps and keep this process going.”

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