Teaching Tech
Changing Lives

Breaking the cycle of crime by teaching prisoners coding
we teach tech, we change lives
In 2016, Michael Taylor founded Code4000. His ambition was simple: to reduce reoffending through teaching UK prisoners how to code and preparing them for employment in the tech-sector. Code4000 are making a real impact on the lives of our students...
an industry volunteer discusses coding with Code4000 students
the UK has a reoffending problem
46% of offenders in the UK reoffend within a year of their release from prison; for those sentenced to one year or less, that figure rises to 60%
only 40% of those leaving prison do so with a suitable work, training, or education opportunity in place, only 17% find employment
the uk has a tech skills shortage
50% of employers find candidates lack the technical skills necessary for technology roles
70% of employers anticipate a recruitment crisis, of whom 24% believe will greatly impact their business
1 in 3
1 in 3 employers say that their most sought after skill is software development
code4000 have the solution!
we teach computer programming in prisons and support our students into employment within the technology industry
none of our graduates have reoffended or been returned to custody
85% of our graduates remain engaged in positive activity after their release, in either employment, education, or training
we are bridging the tech skills gap
40% of our graduates went into employment upon leaving prison
of that employment, 100% was in software development; every single code4000 graduate who moved into employment upon release is now working in the technology industry
our bespoke curriculum is designed to take an aspiring coder from novice to full-stack developer; it is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it is teaching the skills that employers need
code4000 are teaching the skills that tech employers need while supporting ex-prisoners into lives free of crime, it's a win-win solution!
the financial cost of crime is huge
crime in the UK costs billions of pounds
every year in the United Kingdom, £59 billion is spent on the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of crime; putting that amount in perspective, it is:
half of the annual budget for the National Health Service
150% of the annual budget for education
it costs £37,000 every year just to house a prisoner in a UK jail
we prevent crime & save money
there are currently 18 code4000 graduates in the community, none have returned to custody and all are contributing positively to society
by engaging positively in employment, education, or training, our graduates are living lives free of crime; in doing so, the UK is saved £720,000 a year and spared some of the human cost of crime that is difficult to quantify
about our data The data referred to above is compiled from a number of sources, including Code4000's own records. Those sources are as follows: Re-offending rates | that 46% of those leaving prison reoffend, rising to 60% of those sentenced to one year or less | fullfact.org Rates of education, training, and employment | only 40% of those leaving prison do so with an ETE opportunity in place; only 17% find employment | unlocking potential [pg. iii] and uk government employment strategy respectively UK tech-skills shortage | 50% of employers find candidates lack tech-skills; 70% fear a recruitment crisis; 35% say software development is their most sought after skill | robertwalters.co.uk Code4000 graduate outcomes | 0% recidivism rate; 85% supported into positive activity; 100% of those in employment are employed within the tech-sector; 18 graduates in the community | code4000's own data The cost of crime to the UK | £59,000,000,000 is spent in the UK on the anticipation of, consequences of, and response to crime | the economic and social costs of crime NHS and education budget comparisons | NHS budget of £129bn; schools spending of £39bn | fullfact.org and also fullfact.org respectively The cost of prison | the annual cost of £37,000to house a UK prisoner in jail | derived from costs per prison place and prisoner by individual prison 2018 to 2019 Code4000's impact on crime spending | calculated at £40,000 per annum, per graduate; based on £37,000 for prison costs and £3,000 peripheral costs of potential crimes | code4000's own calculations
why coding? why prisons?
In 2016, our founder, Michael Taylor, read 4000 Days, the story of entrepreneur Duane Jackson's journey from prison to business success, a journey made possible through software development. Inspired by Duane's story, Michael looked to the US, where The Last Mile, a charity delivering computer programming training in America's prisons, were already operating in a number of establishments. Michael was no stranger to delivering coding training, having setup Coder Dojo Stockholm, a free coding club for the city's children, and had seen first hand the enthusiasm computer programming inspires.
Taking this inspiration, Michael founded Code4000; his ambition was simple: to reduce reoffending through teaching UK prisoners how to code and preparing them for employment in the tech-sector.
Code4000 founder Michael Taylor at the 2018 TEDx Conference speaking about breaking the cycle of crime by teaching coding
teaching tech
In 2017 the first Code4000 academy was opened at hmp humber, and the first cohort of students joined the programme. Studying a bespoke curriculum that guided them through the journey from novice to full-stack developer, the students were among the first to receive computer programming training in a UK prison.
Next, in 2018, came our academy at hmp holme house. With this expansion came further curriculum development, and a considerable interest from industry volunteers keen to share their experience of the software development industry with our students. The first Code4000 graduates began to leave prison into work in the technology industry.
industry volunteers talk to Code4000 students about their experience as software developers
changing lives
Learning skills in prison is only one part of the reducing re-offending jigsaw; research shows that those who leave prison and find employment are at a much lower risk of re-offending. So, as the first Code4000 graduates were released, we were there to support them into positive, meaningful activity. 40% of our graduates are now employed in the tech-industry; none have re-offended.
But we also recognised that some of those leaving prison were not ready for employment, whether they needed to continue their coding training or perhaps they had other priorities as part of their release planning. Our bespoke planning continues to support every graduate to help them live lives free of crime, whether through education, employment, or further training.
coming soon:teaching tech - changing lives a short video about Code4000 outcomes, and why we do what we do
more than just skills
Coding is an absorbing discipline, requiring problem-solving skills, imagination, and determination. After a few months observing the students in our academies, it became clear that learning to code transforms lives, that the impact of the programme on the confidence and self esteem of our students could not be understated.
For our students, coding was more than just learning a new skill, it was developing a hobby that they could throw themselves into. The pride our students show in learning new skills, or in solving a tricky coding problem is evident to anyone who visits our academies. Our guys love to talk coding and are almost evangelical about their love for the subject!
one of our students leads a session delivering coding training
where next?
With the first phase of the Code4000 project coming to an end, we believe we have demonstrated an effective model for the training and resettlement of offenders. Our work helps bridge the uk's tech skills gap, and our ongoing graduate support helps our students find their feet upon release. We believe there is only one direction for us; to setup in more prisons and bring our unique brand of changing lives to more of the UK's prison population.
growing in both size and reputation: Code4000 are the winners of the Tech For Good category of the Tees Tech Awards 2020