The social web empowers people who would once be cut off from the world to connect with others and maintain social ties. This can get tricky when we talk about offering this freedom to convicted felons, but a a San Francisco program called “The Last Mile” is attempting to leverage the web and social media to help train inmates. The program trains selected inmates for eventual employment as a paid intern in Silicon Valley, and one of their training programs is responding to users’ questions about prison on Quora.
The questions and answers are startling and honest. An inmate named Aaron Ellis answered “What does it feel like to be imprisoned for a crime you did not commit.” Aaron tells the story of family friend Mychal who allegedly went to jail even though everyone in the “ghetto” knew that the was innocent, and another man had committed the crime. The post discusses his process with the police, and law and highlights some of the surprising effects of following the “ghetto code”. Check out Mychal’s story here.
Some of the other great questions were:
- San Quentin State Prison: What do the San Quentin folks think of the movie The Shawshank Redemption?
- What kind of donations would San Quentin inmates like?
- The Last Mile (training program) at San Quentin: If you had a chance to talk to the those affected by your actions what would you say to them?
You can see the Last Mile’s Quora page here and browse the questions. What will you ask?