How MCE is Changing Lives - Introducing Telling Their Story!


As you are viewing this blog post, most likely you are already familiar with MCE’s slogan: When you buy from MCE you are not just buying a product - you are changing a life”. 

To prove it isn’t just a slogan, we reached out to former Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) participants and invited them to share their stories with the world. We were overwhelmed with how many returning citizens were willing to share their testimonials of growth and transformation.  

Over the next few months, you will be able to learn their stories, how MCE assisted them throughout their time in prison, and how they gained the soft and hard skills that helped them to transition back into society. 

Meet Tony Blackwell

Tony Blackwell is a former Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) participant that shortly after his release was able to secure a position as a Digital Copier Operator at Uptown Press in Baltimore. 


Tony Blackwell was incarcerated for nearly 45 years! Let’s take a moment to let it sink in. He was imprisoned in the mid-1970s and released in 2019. 

Forty-five years ago, the world was a completely different place than it is today. The 1970s was the era of disco music, the time when The Beatles broke up, a movie cost $2.50, a hamburger was 75¢, and fries were just 39¢. People lived a lot differently back then. There were no personal computers or cell phones. That was the world that Tony Blackwell knew as a free person. 

Since being incarcerated, Tony saw all major events and world changes from behind the bars: the end of the Cold War, the terrorist attack of 9/11, the first Apple computer, the birth of the Internet, Facebook, and YouTube. 

Fast forward to 2019, it was a completely new world that Tony entered upon his release. The world of smartphones, smart TVs, smart cars, and smart homes. Today, the advancement in technology and the Internet are shaping our lives and it's hard to remember the time when they weren’t. 

So how did Tony adjust to this new world? 

Luckily, during his time in prison, Tony made a wise choice. Instead of sitting down and doing nothing or getting a traditional job in sanitation or the kitchen, he decided to get a trade job and Maryland Correctional Enterprises was there to help him.

MCE opened a door for Tony to learn various trades and gain valuable soft skills. Throughout his time, Tony worked at the Wood Plant, Sewing Plant, and finally at the Graphics Plant where he found his passion for graphic arts. 


Tony Blackwell is one of many MCE participants that  promptly after release, was able to obtain stability thanks to saved earnings and gained soft and hard skills acquired throughout his time with MCE. Throughout the next couple of months, we will be introducing more former MCE participants that are a living testimony of MCE’s mission and vision statements.

Written By: Natalia Fanicase