NEWS PROVIDED BY
Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
NEW YORK, March 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today SiriusXM announced a unique, powerful new series about a prison program that is changing lives through technology. “The Last Mile Radio” will begin its six-week run on SiriusXM Insight channel 121 at 10:00 am ET starting March 11. SiriusXM’s Sway Calloway will host the audio documentary.
According to studies, the United States is almost 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of the world’s prison population. As discussed in the first episode of “The Last Mile Radio,” at some point the inmates will be released, which begs the question…”so who do you want them to be?” Started in 2010 by venture capitalists Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti, two seasoned tech entrepreneurs who recognized the need for technology education for inmates, The Last Mile is a “tech accelerator” inside California’s San Quentin prison, teaching inmates computer coding, business skills and, most critically, offers a second chance at life.
“If you treat a man as he is, he will remain as he is. But treat a man as he can and should be…he will become as he can and should be,” says Kenyatta Leal in the program’s premiere episode. Kenyatta is an alumni of The Last Mile’s first cohort at San Quentin, and one of the 20 returned citizen graduates, all of whom are currently employed – with zero percent recidivism. His journey from a “hopeless” youth sentenced to 25 years to life for armed robbery, to a student in The Last Mile program where he learned about the tech business, entrepreneurship and other invaluable skills, to his subsequent release from San Quentin and current successful managerial role at a multi-million dollar San Francisco tech company, is just one of the many remarkable stories shared in this insightful, sometimes gritty, and profound new documentary.
“When we started The Last Mile in 2010, we were on a mission to reduce recidivism by teaching skills that will result in gainful employment upon reentry to society. Computer coders are in-demand for jobs in which they will be judged by the quality of their work, not the stigma of their past,” said Chris Redlitz. Beverly Parenti, Co-founder and Executive Director added, “We hope that listening to our program on SiriusXM will help change the narrative about the incarcerated and help provide a second chance for those who deserve it.”
SiriusXM’s Sway Calloway visited San Quentin to speak with the inmate students and to capture their remarkable stories about their involvement with The Last Mile.
“I recently had the opportunity to experience something unlike anything in my career,” said Calloway. “I’ve been in show business a long time and done a lot of charitable work. The men I got to know in San Quentin are truly the forgotten population in our society. Their stories humbled and amazed me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget our visit and their hope for redemption.”
The idea for “The Last Mile Radio” originated with David Greenstein, son of Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM. “David heard Kenyatta and Chris speak on a podcast and became fascinated by the way The Last Mile was solving a problem many Americans deemed unsolvable or not worth solving,” Greenstein said. David remains active in the show, and along with Chris Redlitz, was a key contributor to the radio show’s official website, www.thelastmileradio.org. The site was developed inside San Quentin by TLMWorks.org.
“When I first heard about Chris and Beverly’s work with The Last Mile, I knew immediately that their remarkable program would make for riveting storytelling,” said Greenstein. “These are important, eye-opening stories about our criminal justice system and how people can find a new start to life when given the right opportunities and education. These are real-life issues that people need to hear, and I’m thrilled to deliver them to SiriusXM subscribers nationwide.”
Listeners can catch an early look at the new documentary by watching the official trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsjwnFc_D0g
In addition to hearing “The Last Mile Radio” on Saturdays from 10:00am – 11:00am ET, the program will replay on Sundays at 11am ET. SiriusXM subscribers can hear “The Last Mile Radio” via SiriusXM On Demand, through the SiriusXM app on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online at www.siriusxm.com/player.
Sway Calloway hosts SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning daily on Shade 45. Shade 45 is the hip-hop channel created by Eminem.
About The Last Mile
The Last Mile (TLM) is a nonprofit organization that prepares incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry through business and technology training. In 2010, the founders set out to reduce recidivism by teaching highly employable skills that will result in gainful employment. In partnership with CalPIA and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation TLM’s computer-coding program is the first of its kind offered inside a US prison. Currently inside five California facilities, the program concentrates on coding as a means to break the cycle of incarceration. TLMWorks, Web Development Shop inside San Quentin, pays market comparable wages to successful graduates. Find out more at TheLastMile.org and TLMWorks.org.
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