San Quentin is notorious for having the largest number of inmates on death row of all prisons. A lot of Californians despise its existence, sitting on a near $3 million dollar chunk of bay side real estate.
Things are changing at this prison though, and you might find it of interest that coordinators are trying to help inmates stay out of prison by encouraging them to create their own tech startups with their innovative tech incubator. Prisoners begin to formulate a plan for their startup 6 months out from their release date.
This isn’t some fantasy-based training program though: They’re given the opportunity to present their ideas to venture capitalists and angel investors!
You may find it hard to watch some of the stories being shared by the inmates in some of these videos. Primarily because some of them admit to having purposely killed people, and are now being released back into society. Some of them only a few short years after committing their crimes.
On one hand, this will help lower costly recidivism rates and may well help keep innocent people from becoming victims of crimes caused by convicts who’re thrown out on the streets with little more useful skills than they went into jail with.
On the other, one could make an argument that they did the crime and have to do their time. One has to ask if convicted criminals deserve to be given these kinds of advantages. Particularly being given access to technology while locked up, and being put in contact with potential investors without an established business in place already (something few people would be able to arrange, unless they had valuable skills, experience and/or a wealth of contacts in a booming sector).
How did this video, and the stories in it make you feel? Please share your thoughts.
Main image by Todd Lappin