The Last Mile (prison rehabilitation program)

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The Last Mile provides coding and technology training to the incarcerated population across the United States. The program, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, originated in 2010 at San Quentin State Prison, California, United States with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and works with the incarcerated population at men's, women's, and young adult correctional facilities to help them build relevant skills in technology and other areas so that they can more easily transition to productive employment once they are out of prison.[1] Participation in the program is restricted to incarcerated people who have worked hard to improve themselves intellectually and emotionally.[1] The program is now available in four states (California, Indiana, Kansas, and Oklahoma).

History[edit]

The program was founded in 2010 by Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti in partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.[1]

  • October 23 2010: Chris Redlitz enters San Quentin and is inspired to ask his wife Beverly Parenti to join him in starting a program
  • December 18 2010: The Last Mile started a entrepreneurship programming inside San Quentin State Prison for the first time.
  • May 18 2012: The first six graduating TLM Students have their first Demo Day in front of 350+ business and tech C-Suite executives, entrepreneurs, government officials, and prominent news organizations.
  • November 20 2013: The Last Mile becomes a 501(c)3
  • August 20 2014: The Last Mile begins programming as Code.7370 at San Quentin in partnership with California Prison Industry Authority.
  • October 13 2014: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan visits SQ[2]
  • June 24 2015: Ironwood State Prison program launched.
  • October 5 2015: The Last Mile receives funding to open second facility.
  • January 4 2016: The Last Mile begins programming at the first women’s facility, Folsom Women’s Facility.
  • March 17 2016: Launch of TLM Works, a web development shop inside San Quentin, that operates as a Joint Venture with CalPIA.[3]
  • September 8 2016: Valerie Jarrett visits SQ[4]
  • February 18 2017: TLM Radio launches with SiriusXM[5]
  • April 6 2018: The Last Mile expands for the first time outside of California in partnership with the State of Indiana at Indiana Women's Prison.
  • May 25 2018: First Juvenile facility welcomes The Last Mile program at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.
  • August 15 2018: Next Chapter, The Last Mile’s partnership with Slack, Kellogg Foundation, and FreeAmerica, announced.[6]
  • December 4 2018: Google.org announces partnership with TLM Youth Facilities.[7]
  • February 11 2019: The Last Mile opens a classroom in the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center (Oklahoma), funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative[8]

Locations of Program Classrooms[edit]

Current Facilities State Year Launched Serving
San Quentin State Prison CA 2014 Men
Ironwood State Prison CA 2015 Men
Folsom Women's Facility CA 2017 Women
Pelican Bay State Prison CA 2018 Men
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility CA 2018 Young Adult
California Institute For Women CA 2018 Women
Indiana Women’s Prison IN 2018 Women
Pendleton Correctional Facility IN 2018 Young Adult
O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility CA 2019 Young Adult
Topeka Correctional Facility KS 2019 Women
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center OK 2019 Women
Putnamville Correctional Facility IN 2019 Men

[9]

Components[edit]

The Last Mile started as a six month entrepreneurship program that provided the skills to create a business that would be demonstrated at an annual Demo Day.[10] It later transitioned to become a program trained incarcerated people on various types of technology and digital communication as well as participate on Quora.[11] Participants do not have direct online access, and their handwritten or typed answers are uploaded by program volunteers.[1] Participants have reported on Quora that the program is highly beneficial to them, and their Quora answers in particular have received attention in a lot of media coverage of the program.[12][13] The entrepreneurship program ended in 2015, folding certain aspects of the program into the new coding program.

In 2014, The Last Mile launched Code.7370 in San Quentin State Prison, the first fully inclusive computer programming curriculum available in a US prison. The students in Code.7370 learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python, all without internet access. The program consists of two tracks, a beginner track focusing on foundations of computer programming, while the advanced track takes a deeper dive into Javascript, Node.js, etc. Originally students coded projects with pen and paper because internet access is not allowed in prisons. In 2017, four students at The Last Mile at San Quentin State Prison created an offline database of class resources by the name of JOLT, that allows the students to perform necessary tasks to learn to code. The program curriculum has expanded within California and to other states including Indiana, Kansas, and Oklahoma. There are classrooms operating in San Quentin (2014), Ironwood (2015), Folsom Women's Facility (2016), California Institution for Women (2018), Pelican Bay State Prison (2018), and Ventura Youth Facility (2018). In April 2018, they opened their first out-of-state location in Indiana's women's prison.[14]

In 2016, The Last Mile created the first-ever web development shop operating inside a US prison, The Last Mile Works. After participants complete one year of extensive training, they have the opportunity to apply to TLM Works, where they build real websites for private clients, earning a market wage, honing their skills, and enhancing their portfolio. To date, they have built websites and web applications for clients such as the Coalition for Public Safety, San Quentin News, and Dave's Killer Bread Foundation.

Media coverage[edit]

The program has been covered in Reuters,[15] The Atlantic,[13] BBC News,[16] ReadWriteWeb,[17] TechCrunch,[10] and other newspapers and magazines.[18]

The program was also discussed by Neil Cavuto in his TV show for the Fox Business Network.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "About". The Last Mile. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  2. ^ https://sanquentinnews.com/facebook-founder-tours-san-quentin/
  3. ^ https://tlmworks.org/
  4. ^ https://sanquentinnews.com/white-house-adviser-visits-san-quentins-coding-program/
  5. ^ https://thelastmileradio.org/
  6. ^ https://slackhq.com/next-chapter-a-pilot-program-aiming-to-help-formerly-incarcerated-individuals-find-work-and-succeed-in-tech
  7. ^ https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/google-org/last-mile/
  8. ^ https://chanzuckerberg.com/newsroom/innovative-coding-program-expands-opportunities-for-women-incarcerated-in-oklahoma/
  9. ^ https://thelastmile.org/our-work/#expansion
  10. ^ a b Constine, Josh (February 22, 2013). "San Quentin Prison Demo Day Gives Entrepreneurs Behind Bars A Second Chance". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 26, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ "The Last Mile (training program)". Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  12. ^ "How does The Last Mile help inmates at San Quentin?". Quora. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Madrigal, Alexis (March 20, 2012). "Bringing San Quentin to Social Media". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 26, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ https://www.in.gov/idoc/3515.htm
  15. ^ Shih, Gerry (February 25, 2013). "Inmates go high-tech as startup mania hits San Quentin". Reuters. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  16. ^ Walters, Alexander (June 7, 2012). "San Quentin's Silicon Valley: From inmate to entrepreneur". Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  17. ^ Devaney, Tim; Stein, Tom (July 16, 2012). "From Inmates to Entrepreneurs: The San Quentin Startup Accelerator. Prison inmates have all day, every day, to sit around and think. It could be the world's largest pool of untapped brain time. Chris Redlitz decided to put it to productive use. He founded the Last Mile startup accelerator program at San Quentin State Prison in California". ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  18. ^ "News". The Last Mile. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  19. ^ "Turning Prisoners into Entrepreneurs". Fox Business Network. March 6, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2014.

External links[edit]