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Inmates show off tech skills to Apple CEO, Ivanka Trump at Indiana Women’s Prison

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A program aimed at teaching inmates tech skills is getting attention.

The program is called The Last Mile and Thursday, inmates at the Indiana Women’s Prison were given a unique opportunity.

Three inmates pitched their new computer coding skills to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the governors of Indiana and Iowa and Ivanka Trump who is an advisor to the president.

Inmate Talsea Howell is one of the first women at the prison to go through the program and is scheduled to get out of prison next April.

“It is my hope today that the presentation would allow you to see the potential I’m now able to see,” said Howell.

The program is called The Last Mile and was founded by California entrepreneurs Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti at San Quentin in 2010. In the nine years since the inception of the program, more than 550 inmates have graduated and not a single graduate has returned to prison.

The president’s daughter stood next to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, while Howell gave her presentation.

“I think it is clear why you have zero recidivism,” said Ivanka Trump. “It is just absolutely extraordinary.”

The Last Mile expanded to the Indiana Women’s Prison in April of 2018. The classes are currently taught in two Indiana prisons and Gov. Eric Holcomb would like to expand it even further.

MC Hammer is a member of the Last Mile board of directors and he was also in attendance during the presentations.

“It is about the program, the amazing students and making sure they have the skills necessary for employment when they are released from incarceration,” said Hammer

The program requires inmates to spend a minimum of 30 hours a week in the classroom for one year. They are chosen to participate based on behavior and test scores and start the classes near the end of their sentence to ensure they are prepared to walk out of prison and into a software engineering position.