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Teaching Convicts Code~

Sanquentinprison
San Quentin Prison in California
Picture credit: Coolcaesar

 

When this story came on our local news this morning, I was overjoyed.

As a former Rehab Nurse, in California, it has always been my hope that one day those who are incarcerated, would be taught a skill that would not only keep them from repeating the crimes that put them there in the first place, but one that would actually make them highly employable, sought after workers.

One of the most distressing things about crime, is that if you actually listen to the stories that we are inundated with daily about them, is that these people, are for the most part, nearly all repeat offenders.

One such story here yesterday was about a bank robber who had just been released from prison and immediately robbed a bank.
So, he was caught and is now awaiting trial, then it will most likely be, right back to jail for him.

But this new plan in California is happening in one of the most intimidating places where one could ever be incarcerated, San Quentin Prison, and it is for lack of a better word, a God send.

The idea of teaching prisoners about computers and code writing, was the brain child of a group called The Last Mile, who believe, as do many, that incarceration without reform, is useless and serves no purpose.

These very carefully chosen prisoners are not only learning a new skill that can stop this vicious cycle, but they may also be beginning a completely new life.

Once they have a highly sought after skill, they will probably not ever want, or need, to commit a crime again.

And isn’t that what prison should be about, for those who have not committed deadly or heinous crimes?

I hope that this new plan in California spreads like wild-fire across the country, even the world.

The primary reason that most discharged prisoners get out and then commit the same type of crime, is that many, if not most of them have few, or no employable skills and even less education.

This new plan in California, just could be the most important thing to ever happen in the criminal justice and prison systems, which many believe are in dire need of an overhaul.

Just imagine, prisoners serve their time, learn a desirable skill, get out and never return.

Do you have any idea the enormous cost of keeping people behind bars for years and years?

It is presently in California, more than six times the amount of money that is spent on the education of children.

For me, that is completely unconscionable and unacceptable.

Now, think of all of the benefits in this education for prisoners scenario.

So cheers to my former home state of California, which is, as usual, leading the way once again, by teaching code to convicts!

 

Places to learn more:

Prisoners Are Learning Computer Programming

The Last Mile

San Quentin State Prison

Inmates say learning life skills in prison has changed them

 

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Got Books?

Ezra_Cornell's_first_book

An Open Book
Ezra Cornell  annotated the first book he ever owned.
Image: Public domain

 

Something in my email this morning gave me cold chills.

There was a story about the ” decline of reading books.”

I clicked on it instantly and although it was happening in another country, it delivered the point quite quickly.

Children and yes, even adults it said,  are rapidly moving away from reading books.

The entire civilized world it seems, would prefer to do anything and everything on a hand-held,  electronic device of any sort, rather than read a book.

Now my introduction into the wondrous world of the written word,  began quite early, at the tender age of six months, in a playpen with my first tiny,  little book made of cloth.

It was a joyous experience and a happy habit that has lasted my entire life.

I consider books and reading to be the single most important part of any human beings education, without books, without reading, we are simply just another animal on the planet.

This one Human ability, reading,  is truly, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

My passion for reading compelled me to ride a  bicycle every single day as a young child, many blocks to the public children’s library in Indianapolis, where I would joyfully fill up the entire basket, take them home, devour them all and then return the next day to do it all over again.

Yes, I was a voracious reader.

This continued until I reached High School, where at last, I was finally surrounded by books everyday, as a monitor in the Reference Reading lab.

Later when I went to College,  after raising my three children, I was once again to revel in the glory of libraries, always looking for just the right book to use for one of my classes.

After College and leaving California to go live in the East, my luck and love affair with books would continue with a cultural book business, for nearly seven wonderful years.

During this time,  I had the great fortune to travel to some of the finest Universities in America with my humble little book business, and yes,  I had the enormous pleasure of being at  Cornell  several times.

At each event, I was thrilled to talk to the eager learners,  who like me, wanted to stretch their minds.

Some of my very best customers were staff and faculty at the schools.

With over 500 titles of wonderful books about Culture,  there was always something for everyone that I met.

It was to become, simply the most rewarding job/career/business of my life.

Sharing the knowledge in those books with thousands of people all over this country, who were starving for information,  was a never to be repeated, or forgotten time in my life.

I will always treasure it.

Now today, seeing this story and reading about the apparent huge decline in reading books, I am left wondering, how the world can go on, how can we as a species continue to learn and grow, if we stop reading books?

Will our descendants give up books completely, will ours be the last generation of great readers?

In the future, will we only gather information from smart phones, e-books, iPads or other?

Do we truly believe that a handheld electronic device can offer the same satisfaction as reading a “real ” book?

The current generation obviously seems to thinks so.

Living in Florida now, I wonder just how well these devices will handle lengthy power outages, Hurricanes and the like?

But, as for me, I cannot imagine, nor will ever accept, a world without books.

 

Most of the reference links below are outside of America, but is it really any different here?

The first link, in my opinion, is the most complete, as well as, the one I most related to, it is a student’s Final term paper and be forewarned, a  PDF:

America’s Decline in Literary Reading

Experts bemoan decline in classic book reading

Decline of reading a concern for e-book publishers

Decline in book reading culture

Book culture in decline

Book reading on decline

 

 

 

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