March 21, 2023



Tech program helps folks launched from jail study laptop expertise

6 min read

The web was nonetheless in its infancy when John F. Coburn went to jail in 1991.

Video cassette recorders or VCRs have been nonetheless common. CDs have been simply starting to interchange cassette tapes and films have been nonetheless rented at brick-and-mortar shops like Blockbuster.

Rather a lot modified within the 32 years Coburn spent in varied Wisconsin state prisons. Launched this Could, Coburn got here again to a world vastly completely different from when he left. Video streaming companies changed Blockbuster. And with a couple of clicks on a keyboard folks can now take photos, watch a film, purchase garments, and even a automotive — all on a smartphone.

That fast-paced change of know-how many come to anticipate overwhelmed Coburn.

“Once I acquired my cellphone, I didn’t know what to do” Coburn, 57, stated with a chuckle. “I didn’t even know find out how to flip it on.”

When a buddy instructed Coburn a couple of program that helps returning residents study primary computer systems and web expertise, he shortly signed up.

“I simply need to turn into efficient in utilizing my laptop computer and cellphone, as a result of the smartphone is mainly used for the whole lot,” Coburn stated.

Advances in know-how have left behind many returning residents, like Coburn, who’ve served lengthy stints in jail.

Studying find out how to use the web — and even primary laptop expertise — is vital to efficiently reintegrating right into a society and a piece surroundings that has turn into extra tech-driven.

With out it, the probabilities of recidivism enhance; these not too long ago launched from jail can have a tough time discovering employment, reconnecting with household and even filling out a job utility.

The Bridging the Tech Hole for Returning Residents program teaches primary laptop expertise and find out how to arrange e-mail, safe private knowledge, use social media and navigate smartphones.

Ruben Gaona and Eli Rivera created this system with the assistance of Nadiyah Johnson of the Milky Means Tech Hub to develop a pc literacy curriculum for individuals who have been incarcerated. Gaona and Rivera co-founded The Means Out, a justice and know-how group supporting returning residents with employment help and know-how coaching.

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