Tag: crime

06
Oct
2020
Posted in programming

From prison to programming: How coding can help inmates find a path out of crime

Jason Jones spent nearly 14 years incarcerated. After learning how to code in prison, he now uses his experience to educate others on how coding can improve social mobility and prevent re-offending.

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Jason Jones, remote instruction manager at The Last Mile.

Image: The Last Mile

As someone who spent the majority of his young adult life in prison, Jason Jones knows firsthand the difficulties of trying to re-enter society after incarceration.

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Jones was swept into gang activity at a young age following a difficult childhood, which culminated in him being sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison in 2005. It wasn’t until 2014, while spending time at California’s San Quentin Prison, that Jones was introduced to computer programming through a friend, who advised the then 30-year-old Jones that turning his efforts to coding might offer a practical means of staying out of trouble.

“I had a chip on my shoulder,” Jones tells TechRepublic, adding that a disciplinary infraction upon arriving at San Quentin resulted in him spending his first 10 months confined to his cell for nearly 23 hours a day.

Fast forward to today, and Jones has long since left his turbulent younger years behind him. Now 36 years old, Jones helps deliver software engineering training to incarcerated individuals in prison facilities all over the US. 

The Last Mile is an education and entrepreneurial program that teaches coding, software design and other marketable skills in prison facilities across the US, in order to help create career pathways for individuals when they re-enter society. Founded by Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti in 2010, the program has served over 650 students to date, and is today the most widely sought-after educational program within US prisons.

Like many young men from similar backgrounds, Jones didn’t have a

30
Sep
2020
Posted in website

New Elgin police website will provide gateway to crime stats, investigations

Elgin residents will soon have a central, user-friendly website to access local crime and police investigation data.

The site is the police department’s latest effort at increasing transparency and accountability, as citizens and members of the city council have put a spotlight on local policing with an eye toward many of the reforms being called for at a national level.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

Police Chief Ana Lalley discussed the new website at her monthly community meeting on Facebook this week. The website, which will debut in October, will contain information about the department’s use of force, internal investigations, shots-fired calls and all the city’s crime stats.

It will also keep residents informed about the work the department is doing with the six citizens’ advisory boards that have been established to give officers more direct input and interaction within the neighborhoods they patrol.

“It’s really been a good opportunity for us to maybe do some things differently and maybe not,” Lalley said. “Now is a good opportunity for our community members to see us as people. We are not robots. We have personalities.”

Lalley said the website will be a streamlined, one-stop-shopping portal of all the department’s data — something the department has never offered in such a user-friendly fashion.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

One of the data points citizens will see on the site will be ongoing investigations about shots-fired calls. Those instances evoke a relatively large number of questions from citizens, including in the Facebook chat during Lalley’s presentation.

She said there have been 46 shots-fired calls this year.

“We continue to work to solve those cases,” Lalley said. “We’ve made several arrests. It really does take a lot of effort