World Possible to Use RACHEL in an Innovative Prison Education Program in the United States Posted on 27 Aug 09:38 , 1 comment

World Possible is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $250,000 to launch World Possible Justice, a U.S. based prison education technology pilot program. The program will rely exclusively on open-source and creative commons licensed technologies to bring digital educational opportunity to correctional facilities. World Possible has hired Frank Martin, formerly the Education Administer of the Oregon Youth Authority, to lead the pilot program, which will build a roadmap for low-cost, high-quality digital education in state and federal, youth and adult, correctional facilities.

“The incarcerated populations in the United States are not being given adequate 21st century skills they need to re-enter society. By leveraging current open-source collections of content and unique offline technologies, we’re bringing educational opportunities into a place that was off limits just a few short years ago,” says Frank Martin, leader of the World Possible Justice program. “If we prepare inmates, and I prefer the term students, for re-entry by equipping them with appropriate digital skills, access to education, and career content, we are going to reduce recidivism and unlock the potential that is in each of these returning citizens.”

The pilot program will focus on the use of World Possible’s RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) Offline technology and Endless Computers’ educational Endless OS to implement technology without the need for internet connectivity. Facilities interested in joining the pilot program should contact Frank Martin or World Possible Marketing Manager Jana Melpolder.

“World Possible Justice is a natural extension of the programs we have run in Latin America and Africa over the past decade,” says Jeremy Schwartz, World Possible’s Executive Director. “The infrastructure and educational opportunity for inmates in the U.S. today is similar to that of developing nations worldwide: one that is failing both our inmates and our citizens who must prepare for these individuals to rejoin society. We see immediate benefit to providing digital literacy, educational opportunity, and a pathway to a college degree in an offline setting that fits the needs of prison administrators.”

World Possible will engage MANAUS consulting to document and study the pilot programs. MANAUS previously studied World Possible Guatemala’s offline educational programing and found students in Guatemala demonstrating a 10 point improvement in math scores while having access to World Possible’s RACHEL-Plus system. In addition, the report found that this 10 point improvement beat students who had full-scale internet access by two points, all while costing thousands of dollars less.

RACHEL-Plus is built on Intel Corporation's Content Access Point and allows for a small slice of the internet to be stored locally on the device for use in a classroom or remote area without needing the internet. RACHEL-Plus is now used in over a dozen countries and is in independent pilot programs across correctional facilities in 11 states around the United States. Intel Corporation recently published a case study on the development and deployment of the innovative RACHEL-Plus solution.

“I'm always thrilled to be a part of helping people who want to learn and grow,” says Jonathan Field, World Possible’s Director of Technology. “We've worked in remote schools for years, but bringing RACHEL into the prison system opens up a whole new world.”

World Possible Justice marks the fifth chapter in World Possible’s social entrepreneur program, following successful incubation of chapters in Kenya, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, and Namibia.