Monthly articles will help educate the incarcerated on information technology
By Sherman K. Newman
Welcome to Tech Block 42
It’s time for the incarcerated in CDCR and beyond to become technologically aware — more specifically, computer literate.
TB42 is here to share computer technology information in an effort to bridge the digital literacy divide between the incarcerated and the society into which they will return.
The more computer and information technology (IT) knowledge acquired, the better one’s ability to use the internet and the applications that live on it.
Every thriving, working person should have on their computer one of the two platforms Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 services, examples of the type of information technology (IT) platforms available to assist users in daily productivity, for business or leisure.
In line with the transformation of SQ announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom at his recent SQ press conference, expanding practical technology training will prepare more incarcerated people for integration back into modern society.
We live in parallel worlds, one physical, and the other digital. For the incarcerated, it’s been all steel and concrete. A glimmer of hope showed when CDCR allowed The Last Mile/CTE–CODE 7370 coding and Mt. Tamalpais College to have laptops and use them in living quarters.
However, the majority of the incarcerated in California are in prisons that don’t provide tech training, or their prison libraries don’t carry updated technology books.
TB42 has answers to questions for those in tech deserts.
Tech Talk: you’ll learn about the new words and phrases used in the context of the article.
A key component to learning and understanding computers today is applications (apps). Apps perform various tasks and jobs as programs downloaded from the internet onto desktop computers and mobile devices, i.e. smartphones, tablets and laptops. More depth about apps to come.
Operating and managing the devices we use can be daunting, especially for those of us who have never used technology before. It is important to know how to load software onto them, how to navigate apps by using icons or symbols, etc. Some of these skills come only from doing.
These types of experiential practices will ease future efforts to gain familiarity with computer usage.
From my own experience, attaining competence in using computers takes time and self-initiative.
TB42 will provide information for incarcerated people interested in learning computer science, internet networking, and blockchain technology.
Here is a practical solution to the dearth of tech information the incarcerated face, an opportunity to become enlightened. Those who want hands-on technical education during incarceration should ask their respective institutions to provide basic tech education in preparation for parole or release.
Why the incarcerated need tech ed
Our society uses the internet as its primary means of communication, viz., email, messaging apps, and voice over internet protocol (VOIP). The average user is adept in using devices (smartphones) and applications that access the internet, and has an advantage over those who don’t have access to the technology.
It’s imperative that the incarcerated become as well versed in basic computer use as those in free society. Incarcerated people understand, however, the limitations on what we can learn and the related concerns for public safety.
But as has been demonstrated, allowing the incarcerated to learn tech is not a Trojan horse` to further crime or misbehavior, but a liberating tool that will transform one from a state of technical ignorance, to one of digital participation in modern society.
TB42 has a passion for tech and we want to instill that passion in SQNews readers too.