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Businesses Crime Social Networks Idle

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

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 crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Monday July 16, 2012 @03:51PM (#40665915)

    I have never understood why prisoners should be forbidden from using an *offline* computer. Okay, so maybe they're blocked from the internet--but couldn't they at least learn the stuff they could do offline? Not even letting older prisoners understand how a modern computer even WORKS puts them so far behind the times that it's pretty unlikely they'll ever catch up.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @03:56PM (#40665967)

    helped five inmates learn

    5. Five. 1 2 3 4 5. That would be "five". Given any arbitrary selection criteria, the membership count of the set of prisoners X in that selection criteria set are the natural numbers from 0 to 5 inclusive. Come on /. after you add UTF-8 how about MathML?

    many of its participants have never used a computer

    Why the vagueness? OK we're operating from five. Remember paper logic puzzles? I used to turn them into prolog statements and let the solver solve them. This was back when a XT with turbo prolog was cutting edge. But I digress. OK its /. logic puzzle time. Rule out 0 because they would have skipped this topic. Rule out 1 because they would have wrote "a" and rule out 5 because they would have written "all". We can rule out 2 because they would have written "a couple" unless they avoided that phrase WRT prison sex and so forth. Which is more, "many" or "several". I believe the informal ranking order is "many" is greater than "several" so of the remaining options 3 or 4, we can circle "4" as the answer.

    Thats how I figured out exactly 4 inmates have never used a computer.

  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @04:25PM (#40666257) Journal

    The incentives of the system reward high occupancy. If there were more funding for wardens and prisons who had lower recidivism rates then there'd be less of a clamour for tougher sentencing laws funded by the prison industrial complex, America wouldn't have such an obscenely high incarceration rate, and there'd be a lot less crime committed by inmates after release since there would have been more investment in rehabilitation.

  • by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @04:26PM (#40666275)

    This [] is probably among the most reputable links to be found.

  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @04:34PM (#40666341) Homepage
    Judges know this, but are forced to have a conviction ratio or else they will be replaced come election season by a judge who will convict.

    Fail. Epic fail. In the USA, judges don't convict people, juries do. It's prosecutors that have to worry about a conviction rate, not judges. Step away from the keyboard, go back to school and stop cutting your Social Studies classes to post ignorant slop on Slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2012 @04:34PM (#40666343)
    Some company making an offer is not the same as states signing a contract. Typical FUD from HuffPost (and you should never refer to them as "reputable", they're not).
  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:19PM (#40666725)

    Jesus kid don't you know anything? Get people to put in routine, bogus easy to resolve issues. Make them put in 9 gimmes to get you to look at the 1 real one they entered.

    For every stupid metric there is an easy game to play. It's you duty to your employer to game the system.

  • Re:Local network? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:52PM (#40666969)
    I don't know what it's like at that particular prison, but I know that in some parts of the US being too nice to prisoners results in either the locals getting upset that you are being 'soft' or the state politicians getting involved to make sure the prisoners are properly miserable and mistreated. There seems to be a natural instinct for justice, or at least a desire to see more suffering inflicted upon wrongdoers regardless of the impact on rehabilitation and reoffending. It seems people don't want to see prisoners turned straight so much as they want to see prisoners lives properly destroyed, even if this leaves them no option but to return to crime upon their release.
  • Re:Local network? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s73v3r ( 963317 ) < minus berry> on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:45PM (#40667873)

    What I think people don't want is to see prisoners be provided things like cable TVs with their tax money

    Cable TV keeps prisoners docile and distracted. Distracted and docile prisoners are much easier to guard, and cause far less problems.

    I would bet that providing them Cable TV actually saves the prison, and therefore the taxpayer, money over the long run (assuming it's not a private prison).

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.