Coding is one of the modern world’s most sought after skills.
Taking our inspiration from The Last Mile - an established prison coding programme that started in San Quentin but now runs in several prisons in California - we aim to teach people a life-changing skill and get them back into the job market.
The reason for this is simple. People who leave prison and find work are highly unlikely to reoffend. At the same time employment is one of the great barriers for people with criminal records, and many companies will not hire them.
By teaching prisoners coding skills, we can significantly increase their chances of employment post-release, as well as help supply companies with the skills they so desperately need. Prisoners also have lot of time to practice and learn a new skill, something which is highly suitable to the trial and error method necessary to learn coding.
By investing in prison education, you’re not only turning around the lives of individuals and improving the prospects of the communities to which most of them will eventually return, you are also saving the state and taxpayer money.
The Code 4000 idea is simple. We want to build a similarly successful programme in the UK to those already operating in the US and elsewhere. Starting with a pilot of sixteen prisoners at HMP Humber, we want to build a network of coding workshops in UK prisons, with the aim of giving people a second chance, turning their lives around, and training them in a skills set which has a high demand in the UK (and global) jobs market.
The development of each prison workshop is split into four stages.
Stage 2 allows successful graduates of Stage 1 to then work on real-world projects for external clients, which will also provide a modest income to the project.
Stage 3 will then see them working for clients in the real world on temporary day release.
Stage 4 aims to help them find full time employment as developers.
Of course, this is a pretty tall order, made all the more difficult when you consider that prisoners selected for the programme will be learning web development skills without direct access to the internet.
This is where we need your help.
If you are a company or organisation that is looking to hire coders, please contact us to talk about placement schemes and becoming a partner.
Training sessions will be led by an on-site classroom facilitator, with access to course books, computers and offline training videos. However these need to be complemented by industry experts who can dial in via Google Hangouts/Skype to discuss various topics with the class directly, or who can help remotely with simple Q&A and code reviews posted onto a dedicated platform. This involves only a couple of hours of volunteer time a month.
If you cannot sign up to volunteer over a long period, even offering a couple of month’s worth of support would be a huge help. If you think you can do that, and you know something about HTML/CSS/JS, then please do get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also looking for corporate sponsors to help meet our modest costs in running the project. If you think your company or organisation could help out, please contact us. All donations, large or small, help, and your contribution will go a long way to help making this project reach more people.
Code 4000 is not only the first initiative of its kind in the UK, but also in Europe. We are a UK-based non-profit (C.I.C). We are working with close support from the Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS), who have kindly offered to help sponsor the first pilot at Humber, and with help from the Ministry of Justice. We have also recieved financial support from Unilink, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists Charity, The Woddhaven Trust, and private donations.
Posted by Michael Taylor
In the chaotic and complicated world of public policy it’s very rare to be able to draw a causal line through space and time. With Code4000 we can do exactly this, linking two rooms 190 miles and...
Posted by Michael Taylor
Great news! After 12 months of patient work and pushing at boundaries, we can finally say that Code4000 is now open for business!The doors opened on Monday 31st July, and we’ve been inducting new...
Michael Taylor is an entrepreneur with over 25 years experience of working in both the public and private sectors.
He is currently the CEO for Jump Shot Consulting, building advanced cloud-based business applications for small and medium sized companies, based in Stockholm.
He has previously worked in the fields of International Cultural Relations, International Development, IT Consultancy and Digital Communications.
Michael has been the initiator of several previous projects, including CoderDojo Stockholm (a free code club for kids aged 7-17, which to date has taught more than 2,500 kids programming), Access All Areas (Sweden’s first ever music event aimed at the international music industry), and most recently Code 4000.
Michael is a Master of Philosophy graduate with a big interest in the arts, sciences, economics, and all things tech. He is also a champion of the ideas of Adam Smith.
Duane Jackson is a London- and Brighton-based technology entrepreneur. He founded KashFlow Accounting Software, one of the first software-as-a-service businesses in the UK, in 2005.
He grew it to 40 staff and 20,000 customers without taking any significant external funding and eventually exited in 2013, selling to IRIS Software Group for £20m.
He’s since set up supdate.com, a tool for businesses to track and report their progress to external shareholders.
Having been a care-leaver and ex-offender himself, he is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship to those from a similar background. He’s a Patron of The Prince’s Trust, the charity that helped him start in business.
Throughout his journey, Duane was mentored by Lord Young of Graffham. Lord Young wrote the foreword to Duane’s autobiography, Four Thousand Days, which is available on Amazon.
Andrew Dixon has a degree in International Politics from Aberystwyth University and holds an Executive MBA from London Business School. He started his professional life as an English teacher in Japan and then worked at Société Générale (Tokyo) and Goldman Sachs (Sydney) on commodity hedging strategies.
He left Goldman Sachs in 2000 to set up his angel investment business – ARC InterCapital. Andrew has invested in more than 30 early-stage companies, including Infinitesima (high-speed microscopes for the semiconductor industry), Gamesys (gaming software), Sonoma Partners (cost-effective wealth management), and Prosper4 (employment opportunities for ex-offenders).
He supports the Liberal Democrats and is the founder of the Liberal Democrats Entrepreneurs Network. Andrew is an Enterprise Fellow at the The Prince’s Trust and is the founder and Trustee of the Woodhaven Trust, which focuses on prison reform and various offender rehabilitation initiatives within the UK.
Andrew comments: “Having been deeply impressed after visiting The Last Mile prison rehabilitation program at San Quentin Prison in San Francisco in 2013, I was delighted to be introduced to Michael Taylor, who had aspirations to create a similar programme in the UK. Since that time, Michael has shown vision, creativity and tenacity in launching Code4000 at HMP Humber. I hope that he will continue to receive the support from the prison estate to extend this vital initiative across the country."
Neil Barnby has an Honours Degree in Mechatronics & Computing (Robotics) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education having graduated from Greenwich University.
In 1980 Neil helped set up Forum 80, the UK’s first public online access system, and was secretary of the Association of Free Public Access Systems. He then founded MonsterMaker, an internet hosting, design and training company, working for a number of blue chip clients.
Neil later left the business world and moved to teach in prisons. Whilst there he designed a new work area in the prison to create a business-like environment in order to reduce the risk of re-offending. This area was proven to settle restless prisoners as well as reduce re-offending, with 100% of its prisoner graduates obtaining full-time work or employment on release.
Neil is a winner of both the G4S International and UK & Ireland awards in 2012 for his work in prisons.
Having previously set up a similar project in the former Wolds prison, he is now taking the role of the first facilitator for the Code 4000 pilot.
Prior to joining Catch22 to design radical public service models which are more human, local, and unlock current capacity in the private, public and charity sector, Pamela worked in education and justice reform at the highest level.
Serving as principal private secretary to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP in his role as secretary of state for education, and then again as his director of strategy at the Ministry of Justice, her particular interest in improving public services by changing the relationships between citizens, business and government.
Pamela has been a judge for the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition for three years, including for the 2016 and 2017 National Finals, and helped found Debating Matters Israel and Beyond Bars, the first ever debating competition of its kind in a UK prison.
She also set up and runs De Beauvoir Debates, a quarterly event programme in North London.
As Director of Strategy at the Ministry of Justice 2016-17 Pamela was instrumental in Code 4000’s early stage design and delivery, drawing on her experience and networks from her time as Director of Operations for Tech City UK.
Famous for teaching anyone "Code in a Day", today Decoded's face-to-face and online learning experiences span data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cyber security, machine learning and beyond.
There is no digital dark art they cannot decode.
They have taught boards and leadership teams in over 85 different cities worldwide across every industry and sector.
In addition to running the business, Kathryn is non-executive on the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Chairwoman of the UK Institute of Coding, member of the London Mayor's Business Advisory Board and UK Government Cyber Security Skills Advisory Board.
She was part of the successful campaign for code as a mandatory on the UK national curriculum in 2014 and is a champion for future skills and diversity in technology.
Alex was the founding Director of Big Brother Watch, a privacy-focused campaigning think tank in Westminster, and is a former Chief of Staff to David Cameron.
A non-practising barrister, Alex spent several years working in criminal law and has seen the benefits of prison education at first hand.
A Cambridge graduate and World Universities Debating Champion, Alex is the author, co-author or editor of several books and pamphlets about law and politics.
In 2004-2005 Alex was Chief of Staff to Tim Collins and David Cameron during their periods as Shadow Secretaries of State for Education, and worked in the Party's Headquarters.
In 2007, Alex served as an adviser to the Liberal Party's campaign for re-election at the federal polls under John Howard.
Alex’s work encompasses all aspects of the privacy and data security agenda, and he has advised clients such as Microsoft and EE on electronic privacy and data security issues.
In addition to his role with Code4000 Alex also serves on the Advisory Council for Privacy International, Palantir’s International Panel of Advisers on Privacy and Civil Liberties, and on the Advisory Board of Big Brother Watch.
Baillie is the Founder and CEO of Spark Inside, a London-based charity pioneering the use of professional coaching in prisons to promote rehabilitation and desistance from crime.
Spark Inside has coached over 600 participants through its two programmes, The Hero’s Journey and systems coaching.
In 2016, Spark Inside was shortlisted for the Charity Times Awards Best New Charity.
Previously, Baillie founded the US non-profit Venturing Out, providing entrepreneurship education to people in prison.
Baillie holds a BA from Harvard College and MPhil from the University of Cambridge. She is a four-time TEDx speaker, UK Ministry of Justice Policy Fellow ‘At Large’, 2017 Global Good Fellow, Women of the Future finalist, JA Boston Business Hall of Fame inductee, and member of the World Economic Forum community of Global Shapers. She is also a co-active life coach.
From an initial interest in computers at school and cars at home in the 1970's, Steve went on to study Engineering at Bath and started his career in an engineering consultancy, working on complex programs to analyse stress in engine components.
He has followed that introduction with many years commercial experience writing software, running projects, then building and leading software development teams, in both product and consultancy companies, and in a wide variety of commercial sectors. These have included at various times real-time process control, mobile phone networks and handsets, digital TV, and more recently on-line retail and mobile gaming.
He has been employed for the past 4 years by one of the most successful casual games companies in the world and has helped grow their core engineering teams from a handful of engineers to hundreds, whilst building marketing and advertising products that have kept the company at the forefront of the industry.
His interests include championing excellence in software engineering and continuous improvement of products, practices and staff skills. He's particularly keen on promoting software engineering as a career choice and encouraging a much wider diversity of people to enter and succeed in the software industry.