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Even Silicon Valley's Prison Inmates Have Their Own Startup Incubator 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the prison-angel-funding dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "There's a specific and stereotypical set of activities that spring to mind when you imagine what prison inmates do with their spare time. If there's a yard, they probably hang out, lift weights, get in fights, organize gangs. If there's not a yard, they might read books, write letters, get in fights, organize gangs. They don't write business plans and get giddy over startup ideas. But that's exactly what's happening at San Quentin State Prison, about an hour north of Silicon Valley. For the first time this year, the Last Mile program at the maximum security facility helped five inmates learn the ins and outs of social media and entrepreneurship in an effort to connect those who've been inside for several years with the technological reality of life on the outside. The tricky part about the future forward program is that many of its participants have never used a computer, and, since prison regulations forbid any contact with the outside world, won't be able to use one until they've served their sentences."
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Even Silicon Valley's Prison Inmates Have Their Own Startup Incubator

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  • by crankyspice (63953) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:25PM (#40666759)

    I have never understood why prisoners should be forbidden from using an *offline* computer.

    Actually, they're not, at least in California. I personally know several inmates who are taking college courses "behind bars." The computers aren't Internet-connected, and the instructor collects the flash drives they store their work on between classes, but they have access to computers for educational purposes. Some inmate clerks also have access to computers (non-networked) for typing and other clerical tasks.

    In the federal system, they're even experimenting with the very limited and locked down TRULINCS [bop.gov] email system for inmates...

    What's not accurate is the summary's claim that "prison regulations forbid any contact with the outside world." Inmates routinely contact the outside world through telephone calls, letters, and contact and/or non-contact (and in California and New York, for most inmates, the possibility of "family" a/k/a "trailer" a/k/a/ "conjugal") visits...

    On a related topic, anyone remember the Wired article on Roy Wahlberg [wired.com]? "Roy Wahlberg hacked a man to death, then hacked his way into a million-dollar software business behind bars."

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