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At Marion Correctional Institution, a medium-security facility in Marion, Ohio (about 40 miles north of Columbus on US 23), there is a collection of prisoners who are passionate about becoming professional-level software developers when they're released from prison. An outside volunteer meets with them once a week for two hours or so to guide them in their quest, but mostly they drive themselves.
They're all across the spectrum in experience and ability, from folks who are still learning Java syntax to folks who are already at a professional skill level. One of them, a rather startling fellow named Louis Pierce, had the idea awhile back to hold Code Retreats inside the prison so that the guys inside could get wider experience with real-world professional developers, and--it turned out--in some cases teach a few concepts about pairing and test-driven development.
We've had five Codings in the Clink so far, and they have all been very positive, productive experiences. One of the outside developers from Coding in the Clink IV wrote an article in Agile Journal about his experiences there. We're looking forward to a sixth, and to your help to make it a positive, productive experience as well.
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