Stories of Justice-Impacted Women in Tech: Toc’Quianna Culver

My story begins in the heart of Oklahoma, within the walls of the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. It is there that my transformation unfolded. I was in the first TLM cohort in Oklahoma, and I embarked on a journey that would change my  life forever. 

I, like many others, found myself in the unforgiving grips of the prison system. Designed to break justice-impacted people from their past, it often became a place where “correction” was elusive. However, for me a beacon of hope emerged in the form of The Last Mile (TLM) program.

Participating in TLM set me apart within the prison walls. In a place where shame, guilt, and embarrassment often overshadowed any glimmer of hope.TLM provided a haven for change. The program created an environment where I could be proud of the work I invested in. Professionalism, collaboration, and accountability became the pillars from which I built my foundation for change.

In the classrooms of TLM, I didn’t just learn coding languages like HTML/CSS, Javascript, React, and Node; I gained invaluable life tools. Problem-solving, analytical thinking, and the freedom to be creative within a team made me feel like I was a part of the real professional working world. TLM became a deterrent from the chaos of prison life, offering a glimpse into a future where the sum of my mistakes do not define an individual.

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As the doors of incarceration opened for me I stepped out with a newfound sense of ability and purpose. The sky was not the limit; my mindset determined my trajectory. In July of 2023, an opportunity knocked—I became a Return Citizen Advocate for The Last Mile. It was not just a job; it was a calling I would willingly do for free. In every moment, life has unfolded beautifully, proving that while hurt people can hurt people, healthy people will help people.

TLM’s impact extended beyond the prison walls into the realm of post-incarceration life. I carried with me the lessons of TLM, understanding that I am where I am supposed to be. Life has become a canvas where I continue to mend broken pieces, not just in my own life but in the lives of others.

The cliché that resonated with me is simple yet profound: “Healthy people will and can help people.” The Last Mile didn’t just equip me with coding skills; it nurtured a mindset that aimed to uplift and support. Grateful and blessed to be a part of the TLM family, I look forward to paying it forward—supporting and encouraging others to find their path to redemption and success.

I hope my story can become a testament to the transformative power of education, resilience, and the unwavering belief that everyone deserves an equitable chance. The Last Mile, like a guiding star, illuminated the path to a brighter, better future for myself and many others who dared to dream beyond the prison walls.