Tech for Incarcerated – Better Rehabilitation and Low Recidivism
Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 95% of 2.2 million incarcerated would eventually be released. The societal expectation is that they make meaningful contributions from day one. Tech is helping deliver on this expectation.
Rehabilitation, Not Mere Containment
Founder of The Last Mile – Chris Redlitz (center). (Image credit: The Last Mile)
Though prisons have modernized over time, the underlying concept remains archaic – contain and punish. Not rehabilitation and success. The Last Mile (TLM) is an initiative with focus on betterment. Founded in 2010 by Chris Redlitz, TLM “prepares the incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through business and technology training”.
TLM has four phases – education, vocation, expansion, and reentry. Via education, individuals learn web and software development. Vocation connects individuals with clients while guaranteeing industry-standard wages. The expansion focuses on scaling via a secure learning management system. Finally, reentry preps released individuals for jobs at “top-tier tech companies”.
From its inception in San Quentin, TLM has expanded to 24 classrooms in six states. With an enrollment of 974 students – and 379 successful rehabilitations – TLM proudly reports its rate of recidivism at 0%.
Inmate Tablets AKA ‘Suicide Busters’
Inmate tablets at Pima County Jail, AZ. (Image credit: Arizona Daily Star)
Tablets for prisoners? Sounds bonkers! However, ‘inmate tablets’ at Pima County Jail, AZ, are not fancy iPads. They are very basic with no Internet and use a prison server. While remaining technically relevant, inmates can also make supervised calls to families. They also take anger management, education, and employment training programs. Such programs reduce the rate of recidivism. The United States Sentencing Commission reported a drop in recidivism from 32.4% to 19.6% if those released were employed in the first year.
Sean Stewart, a corrections captain at Pima County Sheriff’s Department, calls these tablets the “most effective inmate management tool I have seen in my 25 years as a corrections professional”. Suicide rates dropped by 100%. Suicide attempts and inmate-on-inmate attacks decreased by 66% and 40%, respectively.
Education Equals Second Chance
Graduates of Prison Ed. Program at Ashland University (Image credit: Ashland University)
Per non-profit Ithaka S+R, only 200 or 4% of US universities offer education programs for incarcerated. This number must go up. Skeptics can draw inspiration from Ashland University’s prison education program – dating back to 1964.
Using state funds, Ashland offers certificate courses in business and hospitality. Most students study remotely using tablets and laptops – with no “open Internet” access. Via the Second Chance Pell Grant for the incarcerated, Ashland started offering B.S. and M.S. degrees – graduating over 400 inmates as of 2019. Several graduates have started their own businesses.
Todd Marshall, VP of online studies at Ashland, tells EdSurge.Com, “It’s very moving. There’s hardly a dry eye in the prison.” during the commencement.
Ani is a web developer at SimplyBestWebsites.Com – located in historic downtown Melbourne. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about the Internet and technology. You can reach SimplyBestWebsites.Com at (321) 298-5128 or Hi@SimplyBestWebsites.Com.