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Our Team

Hustle 2.0’s programs are developed by experts with decades of experience designing rehabilitation programs for people with criminal histories, and H2.0’s Homies – a team of incarcerated co-authors and artists

MEET H2.0’S HOMIES

We’re the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated co-authors of Hustle 2.0. California has us on the books as some of its top gang leaders. All 15 of us have done time at the state’s only supermax: Pelican Bay State Prison. We’ve been incarcerated for a combined 329 years of our lives. At one point, many of us were fierce rivals.

Gang members are raised in a “til the casket drops” culture—meaning there hasn’t been a way out of the gang life—and nearly all members enlisted as teenagers. We all realized the old way of thinking wasn’t working. And we knew much of the incarcerated population wouldn’t care for a curriculum written by people who have never walked a mile in our shoes.

In 2019, we partnered with the founders of Hustle 2.0, whose vision was to recruit the most influential gang leaders to transform gang culture and create safer communities. At Hustle 2.0, we’ve joined forces to use our voice and influence to create peace and opportunities for the next generation.

When the H2.0 Homies started meeting, we challenged each other with the question: “If you died today, why would your life matter?” Many of us were not happy with our answers. We saw Hustle 2.0 as an opportunity to be known for more than how many years we served in the SHU and refused to allow anyone else to tell us who we are.

We pushed each other out of our comfort zones and discussed things that were taboo, including domestic violence and childhood trauma. Many of us united around the crazy and controversial idea of creating the first-ever real path to freedom and transformation— a way to leave the gang life. The plan, called Squaring Up, was co-authored by some of the top gang leaders at Pelican Bay. Now, people who have felt as if they didn’t have an alternative have taken steps away from the gang and criminal life.

Spreading Hustle 2.0 could be our greatest contribution to this world.

The Homies

Click on each photo to see the H2.0 Homies’ credentials

Alfred Sandoval

A.K.A. Sweet Freddy

John Jackson

A.K.A. Sweet Grandpa

Little John Perry

A.K.A. Buttercup

Jacob Ama

A.K.A. Sweet
Sugarcane

Darryl Baca

a.k.a. Sweet Owl

Kunlyna Tauch

A.K.A. Sweet Cheeks

Paul Pichie

A.K.A. Sweet Pwally

Thabiti Wilson

A.K.A. Fudgy

Sonny Trujillo

A.K.A. Sweet
Monkeypants

Abel Torres

A.K.A. Fuzzy
Koala Bear

Eddie Napoles

A.K.A. Sweet
Gummy Bear

Chris Succaw

A.K.A. Sweet
Butter Pecan

ARTURO CASTELLANOS

A.K.A. Sweet Tamale

Jesus Murillo

A.K.A. Sweet Chewy
Cookie Dough

CECIL SAGAPOLU

A.K.A. Sweet Candy

H2.0’s Rap Sheet

Our collective experience has earned us the trust of both gangs and corrections systems, uniquely enabling us to rehabilitate people with prevailing histories of gang involvement and violent crime.

H2.0’s founders previously created Prison Entrepreneurship Program and Defy Ventures, two nationally recognized rehabilitation programs, which have served 8,500+ people with criminal histories and achieved recidivism rates of less than 8% since 2004. Our programs have incubated 500+ small businesses started by formerly incarcerated grads and helped countless others land jobs. We’re in this for the long-haul.

H2.0’s team consists of:

  • 5Entrepreneurs
  • 5Correctional experts
  • 5Psychologists
  • 5Educators
  • 5Writers
+

H2.0’s Homies, our incarcerated co-authors and artists. They provide testimonials, artwork, and case studies that bring to life our evidence-based curriculum.

Since joining H2.0, I see myself as a new, better, and improved man.

Having completed over 20 programs in the past nine years of my incarceration, none of them has had such a positive and powerful impact on my life as Hustle 2.0 does. I’ve always seen myself as a reserved person; antisocial, and stuck trying to impress and meet other people’s perspective. But H2.0 has allowed me to overcome that. I now can be myself… not worried about how people judge me, and I am not afraid to show emotions in front of others, because I now understand that’s what makes us human. H2.0 has pushed me to want changes and to face them head on without backing down, wavering, or compromising my commitment. I used to think that I will die in prison and may never see my freedom, being on a GP yard, but I realize now that I have hope and my chances of going home can be high, even on a GP yard. I must be my own leader, account for my own actions (be it good or bad), and stay focused on learning, growing, and investing in my full-time efforts.”

– Francisco Limon

Hustle 2.0 has far exceeded my hopes and expectations. I have gained so much useful knowledge in the last year and a half and feel so much better about where I am in my rehabilitative process.

This program has allowed me to engage and grow with other like-minded individuals. The courses on board readiness have been especially helpful. Learning to really explore my causative factors has not only helped me learn more about why I committed my crime, it has also helped me to learn more about myself. I have discovered emotions I didn’t know were there. I am a deeply empathetic person and I credit Hustle 2.0 with helping me to nurture that. This program has already had such a tremendous impact on my life, and I can’t wait to see how it will help me continue to grow. This program has helped me become more of a help to others around me which includes both inmates and correctional officers. Courses like Premeditated Positivity have helped to influence me to step outside of my comfort zone and interact with individuals I normally would not. I have led people that I would not have even talked to a few years ago. I have helped C/O’s get through difficulties they were having just by sparking up a conversation, something I was not prone to doing. I credit Hustle 2.0 with encouraging me to be of service to all, not just those that look like me.”

– Thabiti Wilson

Since joining Hustle 2.0, the insight and maturity level I’ve gained from sticking with this program has been so powerful.

I’ve been incarcerated for 20 years now on a level 4 yard. Before taking the Squaring Up course, I had a one-dimensional mindset based on morals and values in line with streetism. Not until my introduction to H2.0 have I experienced such motivational speaking and enthusiasm from staff! From the raw openness to heartfelt storylines I can relate to, and the trials and tribulations in the success stories from people like and unlike me, I’ve felt them all. I was lost on these yards living by a so-called “G-code” that has had nothing but a negative effect upon my life and family. After hearing the stories from the older homies at Pelican Bay who set the tone on these yards, and learning how they’ve sacrificed so much to come to the realization that their past contributions were of no substance to a cause that in all honesty brought about destruction upon the people they subconsciously said they’re looking out for. For them to have come to the realization that Squaring Up will have to be a fundamental part of their life to bring about change was something that touched me deeply.”

– Victor Cole

The Hustle 2.0 courses and information provided gave me confidence and endurance in my preparation to articulate on numerous topics and issues concerning my life crime with the parole board.

The lessons navigated my understanding of the different stages my life has taken. It has formatted my reentry and relapse prevention planning to be successful if I am afforded suitability to parole. Courses pertaining to: criminal thinking or behavior, entrepreneurship, domestic violence, squaring up, preparing a job resume, preparing a cover letter for a job, anger management, accountability and commitment, victim awareness, life mapping, gang evolution, mindset, leadership & management, healthy relationships, reentry planning, the power of habit, and my favorite – parole board readiness, are all key elements in me being successful in not returning to prison. It has equipped me with information and necessary insight to platform my learning with creditability and conviction. Hustle 2.0 is second to none in comparison to any other program I’ve been associated with. It allows participants to plunge deep into their creative thinking and respond with realistic ideas and answers. In all fairness, Hustle 2.0’s curriculum has been exhilarating and demanding in challenging participants to elevate their minds to the highest plateau of comprehension and storing information. Hustle 2.0 overall is a program where an incarcerated person can find their purpose in life and figure out exactly what type of legacy they want to leave behind.”

– Jacob Ama

Personally, my thinking has changed drastically. I have a lot of time left on my sentence and before Hustle 2.0 I was always of the “who cares” mindset.

I felt I had so much time that I didn’t care what I did, or what happened to me. Now, however, I am viewing my time from a whole new perspective. I no longer involve myself with the criminality I thought was just part of life in here. Instead, I choose to use my time to better myself and educate myself. Now instead of viewing the time I have left as dead time, or a waste, I’m using it to prepare for the eventuality of going home! I have repaired my relationships with my family and now I know I have so much to offer them. I am sincerely there for them! This all has to do with Hustle 2.0’s courses on Healthy Relationships. Since I’ve been enrolled in Hustle 2.0 my whole family has noticed the changes in my attitude and they love it. Now, together, we all share hope for the future. And it’s a future that I am very much a part of!”

– Joshua Balistreri

Truly I am seeing a culture shift. The Hustle Guides are assisting in building confidence to do things I haven’t seen ever.

For instance, the Impact Challenge has given permission to people to do good and have humanizing conversations with correctional officers – Even if it is just for the Impact Challenge’s sake. It’s also giving people permission to hope, and this may be the biggest gift a program can give to us. It leads people to step out of ‘What-They-Know’ to that shaky ground of ‘What-They-Are-Capable-Of’.”

– Kunlyna Tauch

I’m grateful for the awesome insight, wisdom, and experience shared with Hustle 2.0. This gives me and my community direction on where and how to focus our rehabilitation efforts.

Most incarcerated men have an opportunity to go home one day, whether it’s a determinate sentence, through board, the courts, or even a commutation, and I feel saddened when this opportunity is wasted with little to no rehabilitation. Hustle 2.0 is invested in changing the landscape. Meaning we’re educating the incarcerated population on making a healthy transformation to earn their freedom and be contributing members of society. I went from being a taker to a giver as a result of Hustle 2.0. Before H2.0, I never had plans to come back to prison as a volunteer. Now, this is one of my goals. In fact, there’s a tribe of Mavericks that want to come back as testaments to this community that when we put in the work, we can succeed. My family has seen the changes in me since I’ve been with Hustle. They’re amazed at how I went from a criminal to promoting this program. When I see Mavericks on the yard, we give out bear hugs and get in our bubble about books, family, life on the outside, and our pursuit of education, amongst other topics. One person called me a “program guru”, that was a first :). I’ll admit, this label is better than the ones I used to carry. I share these moments because this is what our curriculum has allowed me and others to become. I’ll never forget what one of our Mavericks told me. “We used to be just surviving in prison. Now that we’re gaining purpose, we’re learning to live.”

– Jesus Murillo

My relationship with my family has improved and my outlook upon relationships had a 360 cleaning due to the Healthy Relationship and Domestic Violence courses that helped me identify certain aspects in my dealing with family and women in the past.

During my visit with my mother in 2019, I had to address all the pain I’ve caused her throughout my youth and adulthood. Even though I understand the unconditional love a mother has for her child, as a mature man, the acknowledgment has to be met head-on to establish forgiveness. I never physically abused anyone in my relationships but after taking the Domestic Violence course, I realized I was both an abuser and victim of domestic violence! I learned the many different forms of abuse that can be experienced during relationships. My new outlook has enabled me and moms to get into a routine of writing or calling every two weeks, and I’m getting to know my mother on a personal level. Once the time comes, I know my relationship with anyone will be of a healthy nature.”

– Victor Cole

Hustle 2.0 has shown me the steps I must take in order to pursue the new goals and dreams that I now share with my family and friends.

Growing up, my life was motivated by my gang involvement. My way of thinking, my expressions, and my beliefs were all conductive to my sense of belonging with my gang. This was the type of misplaced loyalty during my teen years which allowed me to justify the criminal behavior that I saw all around me. It’s impossible to control all of the circumstances that occur in our lives, but we can control what we become as a result of them. Hustle 2.0 has provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary for seeking out and accomplishing future goals, such as finding meaningful employment, commensurate with my training, and possibly starting my own business. More importantly, the Parole Board and Squaring Up courses have given me a new perspective on life, which has given me the strength and courage to look inside myself, dig deep, and become aware of my criminal thinking. I am proud to say that I have since taken steps to separate myself from criminal activity. Hustle 2.0 has shown me the steps I must take in order to pursue the new goals and dreams that I now share with my family and friends. It has also motivated me to get involved by reaching out to others and giving back to those in need. Thanks to the Hustle family, I have been able to surround myself with like-minded people whom I can confide and share my progress in these goals. This program in so many ways has brought meaning and value to my life. I have accepted my past. I also accept my present circumstances with hope and purpose for the future. The process of transformation takes time. I’m willing to trust the process and transform into a positive version of myself. I am deeply committed to this journey, for now and always.”

– Trenton Dukes