Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to San Quentin prison this week highlights some interesting aspects of the once notorious correctional institution. Throughout to past couple decades San Quentin’s focus shifted from punishment to rehabilitation. While it is leaps and bounds ahead of other similar institutions in the United States Department of Corrections, it does not mean the others can’t catch up.
REFORM, OPPORTUNITIES, EDUCATION
Following Zuckerberg’s public encounter, a great deal of info is now passed to the mainstream. The obvious being the absolute necessity for reform, where even the Pope and President Obama are on the record. However, and more interestingly, the facts about how this prison is changing things are remarkable. San Quentin currently offers yoga and meditation, gardening, theater (where inmates perform Shakespeare, like in the featured image), music, in-depth counseling and substance abuse treatment/classes, associate degrees, and even has a technology and coding incubator.
THE LAST MILE
Of particular note is an organization that works with San Quentin prison: The Last Mile (TLM). According to their website, TLM “was created to provide programs that result in successful reentry and reduce recidivism” whose “mission is to provide marketable skills” and “career training…with mentorship.” Specifically, it is a six month program, where in twice-a-week meetings, inmates are mentored by different community leaders and business men.
ONE INMATE’S EXPERIENCE
Wired interviewed former inmate, Horatio Harts about his experience. Harts said, “People of power, people of success are there to teach us how to be successful as well” and ” The Last Mile goes further – (we are) actually getting to participate in social media, to hear from the public, hear their responses from what we write.”
Another interesting factor of TLM, and what most-likely drew Mr. Zuckerberg, is the coding class. Here inmates learn various coding languages and to operate like live coders. This project aims to create knowledgeable software engineers out of inmates. In the words of executive director, Beverly Parenti, “Many of the students are transformed from inmates with uncertainty for their future to confident men with marketable skills and hope for their future.” This Los Angeles bail bonds company appreciates their efforts. Tell us what you think: Facebook and Twitter
October 15, 2015 / Ryan Serey