How to Build a Program that Teaches Inmates How to Code with Beverly Parenti (Ep. 33)

How to Build a Program that Teaches Inmates How to Code with Beverly Parenti (Ep. 33)

Beverly Parenti (@thebev) is co-founder and Executive Director of The Last Mile—a nonprofit focused on providing education and training inside prison that can result in gainful employment upon reentry, thereby reducing recidivism and helping redirect spending from prisons to education.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan recently visited San Quentin prison to spend time with inmates who are participating in Last Mile’s coding boot camp called Code.7370. On the day of his visit, Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook “We can’t jail our way to a just society.”

Last Mile’s programming is one of the most requested prison education programs in the U.S. It’s the FIRST program to offer a computer programming curriculum that teaches men and women to become software engineers. The Last Mile will be in six prisons, including 2 women’s facilities by the end of this year, and expand outside of California next year.

In this episode we discussed:

  • The critical need for programming to not only train inmates on technical skills, but also help them find redemption through their work.
  • How The Last Mile grew from an entrepreneurship training program into a program that includes software engineering as a central component.
  • How policymakers can begin to develop similar programs to help train inmates in their local detention facilities.
  • The Last Mile’s revolutionary inmate training method that is spreading nationwide.

Resources:

The Last Mile

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens