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Code 7370 is a 6-month intensive computer programming class developed by The Last Mile, a nonprofit prison program that offers entrepreneurship training for inmates. Walking through the gates of the prison, my first thought was that the landscaping of San Quentin made it look more like a slightly down-on-its-luck college campus than a place housing death row. Code 7370 is the first software engineering program in a prison, but it's certainly not the first attempt to teach inmates job skills. Once the first class of Code 7370 students graduate, the Last Mile will set up an in-house web development firm in the prison, where private companies will hire the inmates through the JVP at a cost of what they'd pay for the same services in the outside world (about $30 to $70 an hour). When Code 7370 graduates are released from prison, they will once again have to deal with the question of who will hire. No matter whether they get jobs immediately upon release, the Code 7370 program is giving inmates something that they didn't necessarily have before: hope for the future. At California's San Quentin prison, inmates who never even used a computer before are learning software development and planning their apps. It would have been easy enough for all three Hack Reactor volunteers to show up in person, but Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti, the creators of the Last Mile program, see this first class of 18 students as a pilot version of what could be done elsewhere, in more rural prisons where coding bootcamp instructors aren't so easy to come by.

The firm will be different from many prison labor programs, because it could provide inmates a real pathway to white-collar work. Exactly who will hire the inmates to do software engineering work while they're still in prison, however, is unclear.
In the original program, inmates go through a six-month entrepreneurship program and emerge with a business plan, though they can only start a business once they leave prison.
He's coping that his programming skills will help him start his business when he's released for prison. Prisoners aren't allowed to use the Internet, so the Code 7370 students do their work in a custom off-line coding environment. He's hoping that his programming skills will help him start his business when he's released for prison. Boone has been in prison since 2006 and has 3.5 years left on his sentence for possessing drugs for sale. While they're in prison, though, the inmates are still being paid less than the going rate.

In the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area, for example, Cascade Engineering is leading the 30-2-2 initiative, which is working with 30 local organizations that will each hire two people with criminal background and track them for two years. According to Takei, former felons are not usually required to disclose their criminal history for freelance jobs if they aren't asked. Some graduates, including Tulio Cardozo, who we profiled here, land promising jobs in the tech industry. The rest of the time, inmates get to practice their new-found programing skills under the watchful eye of Jonathan Gripshover of the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA), which partnered with the Last Mile to develop the program. And as Takei notes, prison commissaries charge more for goods than shops in the outside world, because profits are split between the commissary company and the prison itself. According to the agency, CALPIA participants have a recidivism rate that's 26% to 38% lower than offenders from the general prison population.

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