Tag Archives: Prison

Teaching Convicts Code~

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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Angel Sanchez
Picture graciously lent by: Gillian at  West  Orlando News


My grandmother and probably yours too, always said,  ” when life gives you lemons,  you make lemonade.”

Well Angel Sanchez took this advice to heart and did exactly that.

He could have ended up so differently,  after the rough hand that he was dealt in his short life, but instead he decided to take another road.

Not only did Angel choose not to continue on the dark way that he was headed, but he turned it around 360 degrees and came out at the top.

Angel’s life began in Miami with gangs, crime and drugs and a mom fighting her own drug demons.

He finally ran away at 13.

Angel ended up in prison at the tender age of 16, but  instead of doing what so many others do, he made a decision that would ultimately change his future and his  life.

Following his father’s good advice to ” get an education,  ”  Angel fought back, but on his own terms.

During his twelve years in prison, Angel not only got his GED, but a paralegal certificate as well.

Then he took the next step and applied to various colleges.

One school answered by saying,    ” Come see us when you get out. “

This was the motivation that he needed to keep him firmly on the way to achieving his dream.

Not only is Angel graduating from Valencia College on May 3, with 1,000 other fellow students, he has a 4.0 grade average and will be the Commencement Speaker at the ceremony.

With his  $30,000 a year scholarship in hand, Angel now wants to go on and become an immigration lawyer, so that he can help others who are facing the same  kind of difficult challenges that he did.

This young man who lost his father while still in prison,  wants to help others by showing them that being homeless, does not have to be a life sentence, that  you can fight for what you want to become and win.

What Angel has done with his life,  is not only remarkable,  it is truly inspiring.

And now at 31,  with his goals lying just ahead, his life  back on track, and grasped firmly in his own hands, Angel can show others who started out as badly as he did, how they can change their futures as well.


Places to learn more: 

Graduate Angel Sanchez to Share Remarkable Comeback Story at Valencia’s Commencement

Former inmate now Valencia College’s distinguished graduate

Felon goes from prison to Valencia honor student

Valencia Foundation





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