The Need for Computer Education Behind Bars

By Nick Sizemore

Have you ever sat and marveled at the technological advancements in written communication? Never mind what’s been done since the beginning of time, having gone from cave paintings and tomb inscriptions to the invention of papyrus to Gutenberg’s printing press. Just look at how far we’ve come in the past two decades.

In the past 20 years everything has become electronic or digital, sent instantly with the click of a button or mouse. In fact, a recent study by the post office found that the average American household receives only one personal letter every seven weeks. It’s amazing to think that merely twenty years ago if someone wanted to correspond with another they actually had to pick up a pen.  Image courtesy

Now, I’m not the type of person who believes such advancements are ushering in society’s doom, however, I do see one serious side effect: without computers or computer education behind bars, over two million people across the nation remain stuck in a technologically ‘medieval’ society.

Out of that population of over two million, most have had some type of computer experience before incarceration. Though there is a large percent that have never seen a computer in their lifetime due to fifteen or twenty years of straight incarceration. Many of these inmates will soon be released into a world where life literally revolves around the computer. A lack of computer knowledge renders them socially and economically inept. Essentially, a generation of computer illiterates has been created that will be forced to ‘catch up’ with society while maintaining a minimum wage job at best. This is a daunting task to say the least.

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