Baker-Polito Administration Brings TLM to the Massachusetts Department of Correction
The Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of an innovative
partnership with The Last Mile (TLM), a leading provider of technology training programs and transitional support for incarcerated people.
Pilot Program Offers Intensive Web Development Curricula to Incarcerated Individuals, Preparing Returning Citizens for High-Demand Jobs in Technology
BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of an innovative partnership with The Last Mile (TLM), a leading provider of technology training programs and transitional support for incarcerated people. In close coordination with TLM, the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) will soon implement a pilot program at MCI-Shirley to expand educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals. The program supports successful reentry by providing students professional skills training aligned with modern and high-demand job opportunities in web development and software engineering.
“Meaningful and sustainable employment is vital to successful re-entry of returning residents. TLM’s program will equip students with in-demand skills that create pathways for graduates and position individuals for sustained, positive outcomes upon release,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This innovative program is one of the many initiatives the Commonwealth and its partners have put forward to reduce recidivism and help returning citizens succeed.”
“Our administration has prioritized supporting individuals with the tools and resources needed to successfully transition back to the community. Computer coding and technology skills will open doors for returning citizens and pave the way to success,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am proud of this collaboration and our commitment to successful reintegration through modern education and job readiness.”
The in-prison education is provided through the innovative TLM Platform as a Service (PaaS), allowing for asynchronous learning and remote instruction. The program allows enrolled students to use laptops beyond the classroom and in their housing units to expand education opportunities, coding interactions, and studying time.
“At TLM, we continuously push the boundaries of what is possible for in-prison education. Through technology such as live video instruction in our classrooms and laptops, our program participants can take back to their housing units to an empathetic curriculum built and delivered by our program’s alums. TLM constantly strives to make the best program possible for our community,” said TLM’s Executive Director Sydney Heller. “The process to bring our program to Massachusetts has been smooth, efficient, and highly collaborative. The Baker-Polito Administration and the DOC are shining examples of truly collaborative public partners.”
“This industry-specific training prepares students for a successful career post-release in today’s high-tech environment,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “Providing returning citizens with highly marketable job skills facilitates successful reintegration into the community and breaks down barriers to re-entry following incarceration.”
“Programs like The Last Mile provide opportunities for justice-impacted people to build skills while incarcerated to secure meaningful, well-paying opportunities post-release, reducing the likelihood of recidivism,” said Undersecretary of Criminal Justice Andrew Peck. “We remain committed to aligning our educational offerings and skills training to meet the demands of the current workforce and position returning citizens for success.”
“This program will help prepare the participants to enter a 21st century workforce with skills and knowledge that meet economic job demands now and, in the future,” said DOC Commissioner Carol Mici. “Employment post incarceration is key to reducing recidivism. This program also places an emphasis on peer collaboration and teamwork, which will help participants transition to workplaces that demand that of their employees.”
After returning to their communities, program alums are supported by TLM’s Reentry Department, a nationwide community founded on shared lived experiences.
TLM currently operates in six states, 18 facilities and 26 classrooms. TLM has served over 1000 students and 400 returned citizens. According to TLM, 85% of its alums have achieved gainful employment post-incarceration. Massachusetts becomes the seventh state to adopt this successful program.
About The Last Mile
Turn 2 U Inc. dba The Last Mile (TLM) is an Oakland, CA based 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth for justice-impacted individuals through education and technology training. Through prison education, transitional support and workforce reentry, TLM is disrupting the system of mass incarceration across the United States. In-classroom curricula and course material prepare students for meaningful employment in modern job roles including web development, software engineering and audio and video production. Students cultivate personal and professional development in alignment with the technical education and with the support of TLM reentry staff, volunteers, and a community founded on shared lived experience.
The Last Mile is celebrating more than a decade as an organization, originating with its first program in San Quentin State Prison in California. The Last Mile has continued to leverage the power of public-private partnerships with Departments of Corrections and industry leading companies. Programs are currently operating in 6 states and 16 facilities across the United States. TLM has been able to expand its purpose, To Imagine, Build and Open Doors, into other facilities through these partnerships as well as funding and employment opportunities from the technology sector, including Google.org, Slack, GitLab, Stand Together, Bank of America, Apple and more.
EOPSS: Elaine Driscoll, firstname.lastname@example.org | 617-366-9312
TLM: Kelly Donohue, email@example.com
DOC: Jason Dobson, firstname.lastname@example.org