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Computer coding class takes off at infamous San Quentin prison

A unique computer programming class at San Quentin hopes to change lives, giving inmates the chance to learn how to code

By Michael Hatamoto | Mar 30, 2015 03:35 am CDT

A unique program taking place at San Quentin State Prison in California is teaching inmates how to write code. The idea is that inmates can graduate the program and they will be able to leave prison with an in-demand skill able to give them opportunities to stay off the street.


The groundbreaking prison effort started with less than 20 participants, including an inmate who has been locked up since 1996. Inmates pay 35 cents per hour to enroll in the intensive six-month, eight-hour per day programming school. Inmates, treated like employees at a company, learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other programming languages as part of the Code.7370 class.

Ideally, programs like this - along with other job skills programs - can drop the state's notorious 61 percent recidivism rate.

"It's a large-demand industry, and to be very frank... if you can write great code, people don't care about anything else," said Chris Redlitz, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist spearheading the program, in a statement published by CBS News.

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