Unloop MAKEdays will bring fun and educational robotics workshops to incarcerated people in Washington State prisons. Unloop is a startup social enterprise that aims to enable people who have been in prison to succeed in careers in technology. Roughly 8,000 people will be released from Washington State prisons this year. Of those, over 2,400 will return to prison within three years, at an annual cost of ~$33,000 per inmate. This system disproportionately impacts people of color, places an unnecessary tax burden on WA state taxpayers, and tears at the social fabric of our communities through stigma and ostracism. Our vision is to provide the training, experience, and support that people leaving prison need to launch successful careers and transform their lives.
Unloop MAKEdays are full day events intended to bring the tech community and the prison community together through technology and learning. We will host fun and educational workshops inside prison to: 1) inspire in currently incarcerated people an interest in technology, 2) facilitate a conversation about mass incarceration with tech professionals, and 3) create a forum through which personal and professional relationships between tech professionals and prisoners can be formed.
Our first three MAKEdays will be held in three Washington State prisons: Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW), Monroe Corrections Center (MCC), and Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC). Teams of professionals and prisoners will complete projects and solve puzzles using the "Affordable Educational Robot" (AERobot) developed by Harvard researchers controlled through a drag and drop programming interface.
Funded by Seattle, WA (December 2015)