Pilot program at Pelican Bay State Prison allows students in TLM’s coding program to take laptops to housing units for continuing education

SAN FRANCISCO – The Last Mile (TLM), in partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) today announced the launch of an innovative pilot project that enables students to ” use laptops in their homes. The program is the first of its kind in the United States, providing students with mobile technology that they transport between their disconnected housing units and the TLM classroom on a daily basis.

A pilot of the program at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) allows incarcerated students enrolled in the TLM technology training program to return their device from the classroom to their housing units. The increased access will allow students to increase their coding interactions and study time. Currently at PBSP, there are 12 participants in the TLM / CALPIA Code.7370 web development program.

“The introduction of laptops as educational tools in the prison environment is a monumental step towards providing modern and equitable educational opportunities to those in prison across the United States,” said Syd Heller, responsible for the TLM program. “TLM is proud to lead the way and demonstrate a proof of concept of how laptops can deliver scalable and responsive programming to millions of people, who currently have little or no access to computers. . TLM is actively seeking to extend this program to all of our classrooms and all of our partnerships. “

Brant Choate, director of CDCR’s rehabilitation programs department, said the pilot project is an important first step. “The innovations and pioneering efforts of The Last Mile will help CDCR expand educational opportunities to more CDCR residents. The Last Mile Chromebook Project will extend learning beyond the classroom to evenings, weekends and holidays.

TLM’s Web Development Program is a technology-based vocational technical education (CTE) program managed in partnership between CALPIA, professionals in the technology business community, and the non-profit organization Turn2U Inc. -Form as a service and TLM’s internal curriculum includes computer skills, computer coding and software engineering education, website and web application design, professional development and soft skills, all within the secure TLM ecosystem and without Internet access. The TLM program teaches HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Node, Express, MongoDB, MySQL, Git source control, as well as general skills and career preparation. The program consists of 2 courses and lasts one year. Inmates are awarded milestone credits for the completion of each course.

Laptops cannot access the Internet. All activities are monitored for safety and security.

The PBSP opened in 1989 as a maximum security institution, but has since grown into accommodation for medium and minimum security inmates. The TLM Web Development Program is one of the many rehabilitation options available.

“We have worked to transform this facility, inside and out,” said James Richardson, director of PBSP. “There are gardens and murals, a new playground and classrooms under construction. Stakeholders like The Last Mile and PIA have introduced many new programs. It has now become a place where people, including lifers, can work towards their rehabilitation and release.

The last mile

The Last Mile, the leading provider of 21st century career training and transition support for incarcerated people, is a San Francisco-based 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for personal growth and vocational training through education and technological training. for litigants. Through prison education, transitional support, and reintegration into the workforce, TLM is disrupting the system of mass incarceration across the United States. Classroom curriculum and course materials prepare students for meaningful employment in modern professional roles including web development, software engineering, and audio and video production. Students cultivate personal and professional development in alignment with technical education and with the support of TLM reintegration staff, volunteers, and a community based on shared lived experiences.

The Last Mile is celebrating its 11th year as an organization, with its first program in San Quentin State Prison in California. Over the past decade, The Last Mile has harnessed the power of public-private partnerships with corrections and industry-leading companies. Programs currently operate in six states and 16 men’s and women’s facilities across the United States. TLM was able to expand its focus, imagine, build and open doors, to other facilities through these partnerships as well as funding and employment opportunities from the tech industry including Google.org, Slack, GitLab , Stand Together, Verizon, Bank of America and Apple.

Quick facts about the last mile

  • Turn 2 U Inc. dbaThe Last Mile is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3, tax-exempt organization.
  • TLM is based in San Francisco, California
  • Website: https://www.thelastmile.org
  • Last mile statistics:
    • TLM is currently in 6 states and 16 facilities and 24 classrooms
    • TLM has served over 800 students
    • TLM has served over 350 returning citizens


CALPIA is a self-funded, client-focused organization that reduces recidivism and improves prison and public safety by providing approximately 7,000 inmates with life-changing training opportunities for successful community reintegration.

The objective of the CALPIA program supports the public security mission of the CDCR by developing inmates who have professional skills, good working habits, basic education and support for employment in the community, so that, when released, they never return to prison. People incarcerated by CALPIA receive industry-accredited certifications that employers seek.

An inmate working on a laptop from the New Laptops Program.
An inmate posing with a Notebook Computers Program laptop.
An inmate posing with a laptop from the New Laptops Program.



December 6, 2021

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