Open Source Software with Prison Inmates
Prisons in Washington state have a limited ability to train inmates in job skills. One of the skills that they either currently or hope to provide training in is computer programming. There are several existing or planned programs at different facilities:
- at Clallam Bay run by Peninsula College,
- at WCCW (Purdy) by Unloop in cooperation with Tacoma Community College
- at Monroe (WSR) run by volunteers at University Beyond Bars
- at Monroe (WSR and TRU), a new program by Unloop in cooperation with Edmonds Community College.
The question Caspia asks is, what happens when individual students complete a training program, which are inevitably limited in time and scope? They have no access to computers outside of an organized classroom, and no access to the internet.
The answer we hope to provide is to establish programs to allow students to retain their training, and increase there knowledge, by partipating in open source software projects. This also gives them the opportunity to “give back” a little to the world, and to develop a portfolio of work that can help their job search when they leave the facility.
Caspia does not intend to operate independently, but in cooperation with existing programs that are providing primary computer training. We are currently trying to setup programs at Clallam Bay and Monroe in cooperation with the other existing programs.