The Last Mile And California Prison Launch Revolutionary Laptop Program For Incarcerated Persons To Accelerate In-Prison Tech Education

SAN FRANCISCO – The Last Mile (TLM), in partnership with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) today announced the launch of an innovative pilot that allows students to use laptops in their housing units. The program is the first of its kind in the United States, providing students with a mobile piece of technology that they carry daily between their disconnected housing units and the TLM classroom.

A pilot of the program at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) allows incarcerated students enrolled in the TLM Technology Training Program to take their device from the classroom back to their housing units. The increased access will enable students to increase their coding interactions and studying time. Currently, at PBSP, there are 12 participants in the TLM/CALPIA Code.7370 Web Development Program.


“Introducing laptops as educational tools into the prison environment is a monumental step in the direction of bringing modern and equitable educational opportunities to incarcerated people across the U.S.,” said TLM Chief Program Officer, Syd Heller. “TLM is proud to be paving the way and demonstrating a proof of concept of how laptops can provide scalable and responsive programming for millions of people, who currently have little to no access to computers. TLM is actively looking to expand this program across all of our classrooms and partnerships.”

Brant Choate, the Director of CDCR’s Department of Rehabilitative Programs said the pilot is an important first step. “The innovations and pioneering efforts of The Last Mile will help CDCR expand educational opportunities to more CDCR residents. The Last Mile’s Chromebook project will extend learning beyond the classroom into the evenings, weekends and holidays.”


TLM’s Web Development Program is a technology-based career technical education (CTE) program run as a partnership between CALPIA, technology business community professionals, and the non-profit organization, Turn2U Inc.. TLM’s Platform as a Service and in-house curriculum includes basic computer skills, computer coding and software engineering instruction, website and web application design, and professional development and soft skills all within the secure TLM ecosystem and without access to the internet. The TLM curriculum teaches HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Node, Express, MongoDB, MySQL, Git source control, as well as soft skills and professional readiness. The program consists of 2 courses and takes a year to complete. Incarcerated individuals obtain milestone credits for completion of each course.

The laptops are not able to access the internet. All activities are monitored for safety and security.

PBSP opened in 1989 as a maximum-security institution but has since transitioned to providing housing for medium- and minimum-security incarcerated people. The TLM Web Development Program is one of several rehabilitative options offered.

“We have worked to transform this facility, inside and out,” said PBSP Warden James Richardson. “There are gardens and murals, a new recreation yard, and classrooms under construction. Stakeholders like The Last Mile and PIA brought in many new programs. This has now become a place where people, including lifers, can work on their rehabilitation and toward release.”