Controlling what you listen to in this day and age is an art form. Bombarded by advertising, games, internet and television we are constantly being programmed. Within the last 3 years something came over me - a call to do more I suppose - telling me to cut the crap.

And slowly but surely the noise was reduced more and more to a point now that my free time is most often spent on ways to grow - though I still sneak in time to watch Mad Men which I have convinced myself is really just another learning experience in fictional form. 

One of my favorite things to keep in my ear are podcasts -- especially one titled "This Week in Startups with Jason Calacanis." who finds inspirational stories and startups from across the spectrum--  non profit to for profit all with different goals, methods, and structure yet all bound by the same underlying goal that is critical to success - a leader who doesn't sleep, a team to follow, and a goal that improves the current functionality of an idea or concept. 

This week he featured the story of The Last Mile, linked here, a non profit that helps gain inmates in prison access to the internet to better themselves and begin entrepreneurship.

The concept is incredible. Theres the humanity aspect that questions society and the prison system as a whole. Folks that made a wrong turn in life are removed from society and placed into incarceration. As the world grows and undoubtedly becomes more technologically adept the prisoner sits in a world void of this evolution. Then when these people are thrust back into society now lacking the proper skills needed for economical advancement, leaving many of them broken and reverting back to the same habits. It becomes a never ending cycle. Through the Last Mile inmates are able to learn internet skills in order to start entrepreneurial ideas. This gives them something to build on so they can be functional members of society when released and give them a since of purpose and hope while locked away. Calacanis questions our society to debate whether or not it is ethical to keep prisoners away from whats happening technologically which I agree is a great question. How can one succeed in a modern society without tech experience. With many of the prisoners going in already with an entrepreneurial mindset through crime, The Last Mile is able to help reform the individual and use their skills for the greater good. 

There are questions raised from the program especially in regards to having people use the program for good, rather than to further use the technology to commit crimes. That is factored into those selected for the program, their status in the prison system etc. But undoubtedly I believe that a reform such as this is necessary. The prison system needs to be looked up as a reform system rather than a temporary place holder. Rather than removing people part time and placing them back into society the goal should be to help rejuvenate them - make them understand what they have done is wrong of course, but also find way to help and eliminate the problems causing their stint in the first place. Long term solutions over short term reactionary answers.

Link to This Week in Startups also available in the Apple Store (podcasts)

Link to The Last Mile