What is the Role of Innovative Prison Education Programs?

What is the Role of Innovative Prison Education Programs?

Catalina Joseph, Gov CIO Outlook | Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The innovative prison education program is helping inmates give in-demand skills that will help shape their careers.

FREMONT, CA: With the increasing demand for web developers, some prisons see tech training as a promising new method to help prepare inmates for a successful life on the outside. The programs encounter several challenges than conventional classes that teach inmates general maintenance or furniture making. But the payoff will be valuable as inmates enter in-demand professions and have the chance to make substantially more money than they might be doing manual labor. Read on to know more.

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Start-ups are teaching coding at prisons by combining skills and training for an evolving market. Learning something in-demand and cutting-edge is a lot of the appeal and the idea of getting a good job after incarceration. Unlike vocational programs conventionally found in jails and prisons, computer coding needs inmates to possess foundational skills and qualifications like a high school diploma. Students must be willing to stress intense learning, and teachers must be patient and qualified.

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As with all prison programs, the foremost goal is to help inmates become employed and avoid a repeat prison stay.  The challenge is they often don't have a high school or post-graduate degree. They don't have any marketable job expertise. Even if they had job skills in prison, they don't match what people are looking for in that community. They have a criminal background and is not an easy group to connect to a job.

Apart from teaching prisoners coding skills, the program also offers on-the-job training in the form of work for paying clients. These students are the first-ever inmates making a market wage doing development work for private clients. Coding is the future. It is an expertise that is heavily sought after. That's a double win. This will create cost savings account for them, create a portfolio.  Because the program is so new, only one graduate has been released from prison so far. Besides attending classes, students also participate in a paid internship with outside clients, where they apply their new skills to develop their resumes and portfolios.

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