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New computer class brought to Oklahoma prison

Inmates at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center will now be able to learn computer coding skills. (KOKH/Will Maetzold)

Inmate Chasity Choate said she's looking forward to the new computer classes being added to the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. She said this opens new doors to what she can do once she's released.

"I'll be able to design websites," Choate said. "To program websites, applications. I'll be able to build my own software."

The Last Mile Organization is bringing a new computer lab and coding classes to the prison.

MC Hammer, a board member, and Gov. Kevin Stitt were on hand for the opening.

Contributors include the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative, cofounded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and his wife, and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation.

"I thought what a great program that's really working with inmates to give them an opportunity that will decrease recidivism and give them an education and an income while they're in the prison system," Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation CEO Elizabeth Frame Ellison said. "So they can leave with a better life than they started with."

The instructor of the class, Dennis Griffith, said the skills being taught will be useful.

"It's a good paying job," Griffith said. "Web design, java is a good paying job. They'll have the money. It means they don't have to go back to selling drugs."

Choate said this gives her promise for when she is able to walk free.

"I need as much knowledge, as much education," Choate said. "As much as I can, stat, to help me get back into that."

This is the first class in Oklahoma and all of the inmates are within two years of being released.

There are a total of 15 classrooms teaching computer coding at prisons in four states.

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