San Quentin Inmates Trained to Land High-Paying Tech Jobs After Release Don’t Return to Prison

Inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California have successfully redesigned a leading criminal justice reform group’s website with little to no internet access with the help a prison reentry entrepreneurship program that successfully trains prisoners for software coding jobs upon their release.

The criminal justice reform group the Coalition for Public Safety — a bipartisan coalition comprised of conservative and liberal organizations — launched its newly redesigned website on Wednesday that was produced with the help of San Quentin inmates participating in The Last Mile Works web development program.

Considering that Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found that about two-thirds of inmates across the U.S. are rearrested within three years of their release, The Last Mile was created five years ago by Silicon Valley venture capitalists Chris Redlitz and his wife, Beverly Parenti, in hopes of breaking the cycle of mass incarceration by training San Quentin inmates to do computer software coding, a skill that is highly sought after in today’s job market.

With a Code.org study finding that there are about 500,000 available computing jobs in the U.S., The Last Mile teamed up with the California Industry Prison Authority and the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation to create a training program inside San Quentin that teaches inmates the basics of computer coding.

In October 2016, The Last Mile Works web development shop was launched inside of San Quentin. The Last Mile Works operates as a joint venture web development company that employs select incarcerated men who have graduated from the training program to work on web projects for the organization’s clients.

Being that the prison has rules against internet access, mock servers were created to allow the inmates to participate on website builds inside the prison.

The Last Mile Works’ biggest project to date is the complete redesign of the Coalition for Public Safety’s website. It has also done smaller web development projects for clients like Airbnb.

“We are their biggest and most complex project to date. I hope that we can help spawn other sort of big engagements of The Last Mile in this way,” Jasmine Heiss, the ‎director of coalitions and outreach for the Coalition for Public Safety, told The Christian Post in an interview.

“As we were looking and thinking about how to redesign our website to best tell our story as an organization and about the reforms that we seek and our mission, The Last Mile was a clear partner in this work,” she continued. “Not only do The Last Mile employees who are incarcerated at San Quentin get paid a wage that is comparable with Silicon Valley internship rates, but actually was among the highest paid wages of anyone incarcerated in the United States.”

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Source: Christian Post