MEMPHIS, TENN. – Persevere, a nonprofit that offers coding classes for justice-impacted individuals and places them in tech jobs, is the focus of a 22-minute segment airing on several E.W. Scripps’ local television stations across the U.S. “Cracking the Code to Success” can be viewed on weekends through  October. Scripps reporter Jessie Cohen and her crew visited Persevere’s operations in Memphis,  Tennessee. They interviewed inmates in Persevere’s coding program at West Tennessee State  Penitentiary, justice-impacted individuals in its transition home who are now working in tech jobs, and officials from the Tennessee Department of Corrections about their decision to offer coding education in prisons and the successes they are witnessing. Persevere Founder Sean Hosman and Regional Director  Stacey Books, both of whom at one time were caught up in the criminal justice system, are also featured.  

“We are truly honored to have this incredible opportunity to create more awareness of how Persevere is positively transforming prisons and the lives of inmates. We are giving them hope and opportunity with a valuable job skill like coding, coupled with the comprehensive reentry services we provide,” says Sean  Hosman, Persevere’s founder. “Persevere began in Tennessee, so it’s where we have the most comprehensive services and the most historical data regarding outcomes. We have significantly reduced recidivism by teaching a skill for which there are abundant, high-paying jobs, and support our students every step of the way. Thanks to the success in Tennessee, we have been able to take Persevere to other  states with the goal of being in all fifty.” 

Tennessee has a recidivism (the tendency for criminals to re-offend) rate of 36.3 percent while the recidivism rate of students graduating from Persevere currently sits at just 1.8 percent. Because the children of incarcerated people are seven times more likely to become justice impacted, Persevere is committed to breaking this multigenerational cycle. Their instructors are teaching the children of those in prison or on probation or parole to code as well. Persevere is also helping to increase diversity in web development and coding employment, having graduated many minority and women students from the program.

“We are excited and fortunate to have partnered with the Persevere program within our institutions and now available to TDOC offenders on Community Supervision and their children,” says April Buckner,  Correctional Administrator Rehabilitative Services – West Region for the Tennessee Department of  Corrections. “Not only does this program teach an in-demand skillset, but the job opportunities are endless for these students. We are also bringing families together by allowing the children to participate. It has given a lot of hope to the individuals enrolled, and we have seen several success  stories come through this program.” 

“Cracking the Code to Success” is now airing on weekends through October on the E.W. Scripps stations listed below (it can be viewed by downloading the station apps on the following devices: Roku, Amazon  Fire TV, Apple TV, or the Android App on the Google Play Store). The segment can also be seen at:  https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/cracking-the-code-to-success-how-one-nonprofit is-changing-the-purpose-of-prison 

KATC – Lafayette, LA 

KERO – Bakersfield, CA 

KGUN – Tucson, AZ 

KIVI – Boise, ID 

KJRH – Tulsa, OK 

KMTV – Omaha, NE 

KRIS – Corpus Christi, TX 

KRTV – Great Falls, MT 

KSBY – Central Coast, CA 

KXXV – Waco, TX 

WFTX – Fort Myers, FL 

WGBA – Green Bay, WI 

WKBW – Buffalo, NY 

WLEX – Kentucky 

WMAR – Baltimore, MD 

WRTV – Indianapolis, IN 

WSFL – South Florida 

WSYM – Lansing, MI 

WTKR – Norfolk, VA 

WTMJ – Milwaukee, WI 

WXMI – Grand Rapids, MI 

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About Persevere 

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2014, Persevere is committed to reducing recidivism,  increasing public safety, and disrupting multi-generational poverty and criminality. Its comprehensive  program allows justice-involved and at-risk individuals to develop meaningful job skills as full stack  developers and gain access to well-paying tech jobs that are difficult to fill. Persevere’s holistic,  evidence-based approach is designed to meet the essential reentry needs of its incarcerated graduates  to ensure they lead productive, fulfilling lives. These services include employment readiness and job  placement, transitional housing, family reunification, substance abuse rehabilitation, and physical and  mental healthcare. Persevere is funded by contracts from state governments and departments of  corrections, government grants, private donations, and private foundation grants. It currently operates 

in Tennessee, Arizona, and South Carolina and is expanding to additional states. For more info, visit  www.perseverenow.org.

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