Applaud Program Educating Inmates


Target: Entrepreneurs Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz

Goal: Thank these entrepreneurs for creating a program to help inmates transition from prison to skilled positions, becoming contributing members of society

One of the largest problems with the prison system in the United States is the lack in helping inmates transition out of their cell and into an office. Instead, many newly-released inmates are left with zero resources and no skills to help establish a new life free of crime. To help combat the rising levels of returning prisoners, entrepreneurs Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz created a program called The Last Mile in California which teaches inmates about the network of technology start-ups. Commend these leaders for helping these people transition from repaying their debts to contributing to their communities.

California currently spends approximately $45,000 for each prisoner in the system. Total costs are expected to reach roughly $9 billion during the next fiscal year. At this cost, California literally cannot afford to house inmates a second time due to their own ignorance at how to finagle life outside of prison walls. Approximately 40% of inmates do not have a high school diploma or GED equivalency; roughly 33% have a mental or physical disability; and over half of the inmates were under the influence of drugs the month of their arrest. With a bit of education and sobriety, these inmates should be able to serve their time and build constructive lives outside of prison. Here is where The Last Mile comes into play.

Over the course of six months, inmates selected from a rigorous application process learn communication skills, social media marketing, and how to create a small business. Inmates are taught to build an online presence and an online brand. The Last Mile is particularly savvy having chosen the tech field to help prisoners transition: tech needs are growing for businesses, individuals need to be tech savvy to navigate the job field, and learning to problem solve issues is a very valuable skill.

Inmates are currently costing California $9 billion dollars each fiscal year. Approximately 66% of those inmates are in prison for the second time, and 40% do not even have a high school diploma. With the help of a program like The Last Mile, which teaches inmates the ins and outs of the tech industry, prisoners have the opportunity to transition from life in a cell to building a life as a contributing, employed citizen. Commend Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz for designing a program that will save the state vast sums of money, and ultimately help people grow beyond their crimes while creating new lives.


Dear Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz,

I recently learned about your new program, The Last Mile. As I understand it, a group of qualified inmates are selected and taught the ins and outs of the tech industry. Through your course, inmates are given the chance to actually build a career for themselves after prison. Given that 2 out of 3 inmates are returning to prison for a second sentence in California, your program is very badly needed.

As I am sure you are aware, The Last Mile will also save the state a substantial sum of money which can be redirected towards a variety of areas: education, economy, communities. And the inmates who succeed in your tech program have a chance to also build those communities through their newfound skills.

Thank you for your continued efforts and hard work to help give these inmates the opportunity to move beyond their crimes and rebuild their lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tech Cocktail via Flickr

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