McLOUD, OK -- These are the faces of a brighter tomorrow. About 2 dozen Mabel Bassett prisoners are getting an opportunity to better themselves behind bars. Inmate, Chasity Choate said, “I want to show everybody that we are still valuable as prisoners, ex-felons going out there. We can make a difference and we want to show everybody we can.”
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is partnering with “The Last Mile”. The unique program teaches marketable job skills. Executive Director, Beverly Parenti said, “Since its inception, the last mile has zero percent recidivism among its return citizens.”
60 men and women, in several other states have successfully completed the program, which teaches computer coding, web and logo design and software engineering. Aly Tamboura graduated after 12 years in San Quentin. “One thing that was important to me was being able to take care of my family. I have a daughter in college and I’m helping put my daughter through college. That in itself is amazing.”
Mabel Bassett is the first Oklahoma prison chosen for this “reentry” opportunity.
Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt says “prison reform” is one of the main pillars of his new administration. Governor Stitt said, “These folks are going to one day be back in society. We need to make sure we train them to reduce recidivism. “
Board member MC Hammer believes “The Last Mile” helps inmates distance themselves from their bad decisions. Hammer said, “Not only have I been given a second chance, I’ve been given a second, third and fourth chance. The very foundation of my spirituality and my faith is about second chances so I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t help others get a second chance.”
And the program will allow these women to be judged on their new skills and not the stigma of their past.
A rich investment in people -- “The Last Mile” is paving their road to success.