The Indiana Department of Correction won the Community Impact Award during TechPoint’s 21st annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana. The department’s partnership with The Last Mile computer coding skills training program is the first of its kind outside of the state of California where the program originated.

WATCH VIDEO: Gerry Dick interviews Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Rob Carter.
WATCH VIDEO: Indiana Department of Correction accepts Community Impact Mira Award.

After his visit to the classroom at San Quentin State Prison, Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Commissioner Rob Carter saw the potential for a program called The Last Mile to be a paradigm shift to expand opportunities for incarcerated people to learn new and life altering skills. What started as a small pilot program in 2018, blossomed last year into a multi-facility program in Indiana providing skills training that few, if any, believed could be successfully completed by incarcerated persons.

The Last Mile provides offenders with coding skills in HTML, JavaScript, PHP, CSS, NodeJS, React, and topics that include full stack web development and database administration. The training is onsite and offline, with each student interacting one-on-one with the The Last Mile learning management system (LMS), delivering curriculum in multiple modes that include: video, audio, text-based, and interactive code editing. LMS education is further complemented by remote instruction, during which Instructors and volunteers video conference with the classroom to provide live instruction, feedback, and dialogue.

The Mira Awards judges believe that the impact The Last Mile programming at the Indiana Department of Correction is already having and its expanded future impact will be far-reaching and significant, not only for the offenders themselves, but for their families, children and communities. They are very encouraged to see this kind of forward-thinking solution brought to Indiana early and quickly expanded.

Indiana Department of Correction celebrates the moment the agency receives the Community Impact Award.

The judges recognize that providing offenders with real skills transferable to meaningful employment when released can have a huge impact on reducing recidivism because it creates a powerful career pathway to high demand job opportunities. It’s also important because Indiana’s economy needs more tech-skilled workers for its growing economy.

Perhaps most importantly on a human level, The IDOC and TLM model will continue to grow and evolve to open life altering education opportunities for incarcerated persons who seek to turn their lives in a new, positive direction. Beyond the educational opportunity is a true path forward to secure meaningful employment enabling formerly incarcerated persons to participate in a career field with outstanding earning potential. The end result is lives redirected toward productive participation in society, no longer being a consumer of tax dollars, but a contributor to the greater good of society.

TechPoint, the nonprofit, industry-led growth accelerator for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored the successes and innovation of Indiana people, places, companies and products during the 21st annual and first-ever virtual Mira Awards gala with presenting sponsors Eli Lilly and Company, Genesys, Infosys, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Salesforce.


A total of 15 award winners and honorees were chosen from the 129 outstanding people, places companies and products that were selected as nominees for their achievements during the 2019 calendar year. Forty-eight independent, volunteer judges spent more than 850 total hours evaluating applications, interviewing nominees, and selecting this year’s winners. Judges included company founders, CEOs and presidents, CTOs, CIOs, and other subject matter experts.


The Mira Awards are named after the first of the brilliant variable stars to be discovered – the Mira Star. It is also the Latin root meaning “worthy of admiration, wonderful, marvelous.” The awards represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.