Code4000 launches at HMP Humber!
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 prisoners to the workshop on a daily basis.
The previous experience of the students ranges from zero, to one student who has worked extensively with coding before and everything in-between. All of which is great, as those students with more experience are asked to help those with less. So far, there is no evidence that the prisoners are any less or more capable of learning to code than the general population, welcome news that bodes well for the remainder of the project.
By the end of this year, students will have reached a professional level of web development, and will be in the position to start working on real-life projects, while at the same time further deepening their knowledge in other programming languages and web platforms, as well as complementary skills such as Agile project management and general coding standards.
This makes Code4000 at HMP Humber the first prison coding workshop in Europe.
We now need to start in earnest with building links between Code4000 and the business world. We need businesses who are willing to work with us, either in building the webpages and apps they need, or in helping existing code shops to deliver code. We also need to recruit more volunteers to help out on site or remotely with the occasional delivery of teaching, mentorship or guidance as the students tackle ever more complex coding problems. If you think you can help out, please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
There are of course some initial teething problems too – teaching people to code for the web without access to the internet can make things a little hard, but so far we’ve been able to work around all of these issues one way or another with the necessary restrictions still in place.
If we can make Code4000 work at Humber – by which we mean we can build up the competencies and skills of the prisoners to turn them into professional web developers, and turn in enough money for the project to more or less pay for itself – then we will have found a sustainable model that we can roll out to other prisons across the UK. In the process we’ll have achieved our ultimate aim, which is turning the lives of prisoners around and returning them as skilled and employable citizens upon their release – which is great news for them and for the communities and businesses they are returning too.