JACKSON, Mich. — Michigan prisoners now have the opportunity to get trained in computer coding and front-end web development because of a program sponsored by Google.org and The Last Mile. 

A $2 million grant from Google.org supported the launch of the first coding program in a Michigan prison as well as new computers, electronic devices and audiovisual equipment for classrooms. Incarcerated people at the Vocational Village at Parnall Correctional Facility will have the option to participate.

“Michigan continues to set the national standard for criminal justice reform through innovative programs and partnerships at the Vocational Village,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. “I’m proud to partner with Google and The Last Mile to create a space for future parolees to build the skills that will enable them to secure careers in high-demand jobs in the tech field.” 

The Last Mile is expected to train and certify 525 incarcerated people with a variety of job skills. The organization currently has 17 classroom programs in five states.  The organizations main goal is to provide marketable skills to people rehabilitating. 

Google.org said prisoners who participate in correctional education are 43 less likely to return to prison within three years that prisoners who did not participate in any programs. 

“This grant from Google.org allows us to extend our reach to Michigan and continues our efforts to educate incarcerated individuals,” said Beverly Parenti, co-founder and executive director of The Last Mile.  

Google software engineers are also volunteering their time to review the coding program and adapt it for younger prisoners. 

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