January 16, 2018

State Adopts Coding Program For Prisoners

Gov. Eric Holcomb talks with Chris Redlitz, founder of The Last Mile coding program for prison inmates. - Drew Daudelin

Gov. Eric Holcomb talks with Chris Redlitz, founder of The Last Mile coding program for prison inmates.

Drew Daudelin

Gov. Eric Holcomb today announced the state will adopt a unique program that trains prisoners to become software engineers.

The governor says he hopes it has an impact on prisoner re-entry.

The program is called The Last Mile. Started by a nonprofit in California, it’s designed to prepare prisoners for tech jobs when they’re released by offering virtual courses on coding.

Kenyatta Leal is a graduate of the program, and its co-founder.

Leal learned to code while serving a life sentence. He says it helped him secure an early release, and he got a job at a software company two weeks later.

"I went to prison in 1994, before the internet really took off," Leal says. "And so I knew nothing about cell phones, I knew nothing about the internet. I learned all this through the program, and if I can learn it, then they can learn it too."

Leal has since earned a management position at the same software company.

The program also offers mentorship for prisoners transitioning back to civilian life.

The state says The Last Mile will come to the Indiana Women’s Prison this April, with plans to expand to more prisons in the future.

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