Program Teaches Prisoners How one can Code So They Can Get Tech Jobs As soon as Launched

The Last Mile, a rehabilitation program for prisons in San Quentin, California, offers prisoners free coding training. This gives them the education they need to get a job more easily once they are released from prison.

“At The Last Mile, we use technology to solve mass solving,” Jason Jones, a software engineer who teaches prisoners computer coding over a distance, told The Denver Channel.

Those who quit the program after his release from prison have been linked to tech companies like Slack, Facebook, and even Google.

Jones himself was a product of the program. He is among nearly 100 graduates to have a zero relapse rate, compared to the 83 percent relapse rate across the country.

“They talk about disrupting the status quo of people who are normally not given access or opportunity,” said Jones. “Not only do we lower the relapse rate when people drop out and don’t return, but we also have the ability to return to the community and prevent people from going to jail in the first place.”

The Last Mile, founded by Chris Redlitz and his wife Beverly Parenti, was founded 10 years ago. Since then, hundreds of detainees have taken on the program and benefited from their potential life change.

“What The Last Mile showed is that change is possible,” Parenti said.

In addition, The Last Mile aims to reduce the financial burden on the prison. The estimated cost of housing a prisoner in California is approximately $ 75,000 per year, but it only costs approximately $ 5,000 for a prisoner to go through the program. Really, it has resulted in millions in tax savings.

The budget for the program initially came only from Redlitz and Parenti. Now they have received support through corporate partnerships and government funding. The program, which started in a California prison, has now expanded to five states and its reach continues to grow.

“In general, a lot of people want to do better internally, come second, and be successful,” said Redlitz. “So create this opportunity because 90 percent of people will get out. The question is, ‘Who do you want them to be?'”

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