16
Aug

A Look Inside An Oklahoma Prison | Women Learning to Code


– For you to think that we
don’t need the education, but we’re gonna do better
all of a sudden because you put us behind bars,
no, doesn’t work like that. If you don’t make the
environment inside better, you’re going to get the same results that you got before they came in. – What if you don’t remember Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally? You know what I’m sayin’? – You don’t have to do the math, you just have to know what
the math problem needed. – I need all this to stop doing this. Hi, my name is Toc’quianna Culver. I have been at Mabel Bassett Correctional Facility for 12 years. I am now in the new Last
Mile computer coding class. So I am going to be a
computer software engineer. The Last Mile is a class
that helps you become a front end and back end computer coder, learning HTMLs, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s Monday through Friday,
we meet for eight hours a day. Right now we are learning Java, which is like learning French at the age of you know, plus plus. – What’s going on here? What am I missing? – We started the first
class at the Last Mile, I felt like, what am I doing here? I know nothing about computers, I know nothing about them. You turn them on, you type
a paper in Word, you know? I talked to my Mom like a week later, and she never ever,
ever, ever lets me forget that I am the epitome of perseverance. So if I was strong enough
to keep it together, keep my family together, I’m strong enough to keep this together. I dropped out of school
when I was 13 years old. It was due to the fact that
I needed a job, you know. I had a little sister,
I had a little brother, it just was a matter of feed
them, go hungry, lights off, lights on, water running, simple things. I always wanted to go back. I instilled in my children
the importance of school. I mean, almost like a just fanatic like, no you have to go to school! Like, I stayed in a panic
about, are you sick? Okay we can get some Tylenol . I’m thankful to God that they
all graduated high school. You know, that was just
one of the things that I’m very proud of. So. When I got arrested, I realized, I didn’t have anything,
I didn’t have anything that I was holding on to,
I didn’t have anything that I was fighting for,
and I was at rock bottom. First of all, I was sentenced to 20 years for second degree murder. Detailed details are hard for me, because
I still dream about them. But in short, I met a guy. All the wrong person from the jump. But, not but, just sometimes
we make that choice. We make that choice of
ah, he’s just who he is, and I’m gonna be who I am
and it’s gonna work and. On this particular day in time, he was out with other
people in another situation, and instead of him keeping me
separate from that situation, I was involved, brought
into that situation. So once I entered into the
room where it was happening, it made me a part of what was happening, because once the door
opened and the door closed, I was part of that. Someone died, but it wasn’t by my hands. So you’re still in the
presence of a felony murder happening, there you are,
second degree murder. I don’t blame anyone for
the decisions that I made, I do not. I take full responsibility in that. I don’t ever want to
become that type of person of woe is me and if it
wasn’t for this, you know, because I’m not that person. I made a choice. Am I sorry? Absolutely. Would I ever make that choice again? Absolutely not. And so I settled into this 20 years, and I was like, okay, it
beats nothing and let’s go. I had to start this knowing
my end was gonna be better. Came to Mabel Bassett, I
got into the adult basic education program here. I got my GED in less than three months, and fortunately for me, I was
on a roll, it was, I was high. Got valedictorian and it was
a full scholarship behind that and I’m the first African
American woman to complete that, here at Mabel Bassett. We are working on hovering,
mouseovers, and mouseouts. We’re creating boxes, so
when you hover over the tab that says click me, it’ll be an alert box. That’s what we’re working on. To the individuals that
feel that we don’t need free programming, lighten up. Give us a break. If we would have had the
opportunity to do these things before we came to prison,
do you really think that the first choice we would have made was to be in prison? Who grows up and says,
my biggest aspiration, I aspire to be a criminal! That’s insane. For you to think that we
don’t need the education, for you think that we don’t need better, but we’re gonna do better all of a sudden because you put us behind bars, no, doesn’t work like that,
I’m sorry to tell you that. You cannot take a whole bunch of people, stick ’em in a place and say,
oh, I’m gonna leave you here for 20 years and maybe
you’ll learn better. It doesn’t work like that. If you don’t make the
environment inside better, then you’re going to get the same results that you got before they came in. You’re already complaining
about the tax dollars and what you’re paying, you
may as well allow us to have the education that it takes to do better, so that we won’t keep on incringing upon your tax dollar, okay? Give it to us, let us have it. So that we can be the tax payer. I know about 25, 30 women right now, would love to go out and pay taxes. I’d love to give you every dollar back. And fortunately, I’m gonna be able to now. We live in such a
Bible-belt of women should be in the kitchen, they
should be morally right, and they shouldn’t have done anything. But I think that Oklahoma
forgets to look at the fact that somewhere down the line,
the tradition of homemaker was broken a long time ago. And when you incarcerate us,
you incarcerate our children. It took away my oldest
daughter’s childhood. I didn’t get to see her graduate, I didn’t get to see her go to prom, I didn’t see, I didn’t get to celebrate her passage into womanhood. You know? None of them, I have three
daughters and one son, so. I didn’t get to kiss my son on the cheek and tell him that I approved
of his first girlfriend or didn’t approve. Or tell him how much I
appreciated him becoming a beautiful young man. My middle daughter had a lot of issues. And she ended up having some time in jail. I believe that she was so devastated because she was my middle child, and she’s so me. Like . So, what I’m showing them now, what I hope that they can see, is the true meaning of a phoenix. To people that believe once a
criminal, always a criminal, I wanna ask you a question. When you said, oh I
believe in my higher power and I believe in forgiveness,
I believe in God, I believe that you know,
Jesus died on the cross, and he forgave me my sins, does forgiveness only account for you? Or is that for everyone? I believe that a criminal
is someone with the intent to continue to do the
things that they are doing. I believe that mistakes are lessons and I don’t believe that a person is the epitome of their mistake. So that once a criminal,
always a criminal, very small thinking. The Last Mile reached into Mabel Bassett at a time when women needed
to know that it wasn’t just about, oh we can learn something. But it was about people
out there actually cared about people in here. They understood that there’s
Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, locked
up behind these bars, and we are not the sum of our mistakes. I don’t have to be Toc’quianna that felon. I can be like, hey, that’s
some good work, who did that? Toc’quianna Culver. Oh, okay, so she’s a web designer. And for a lot of women it
means to be a superhero for their own children. It means that they can
actually from this point on, not have to go back to that
same man that led them here. Those same addictions that
tore down their lives, those same unworthy issues. They feel simply empowered. What do I love about myself? Let’s see. My new thing about liking
me is that I’m getting ready to be a computer programmer, so . I like that. I like the fact that I
can turn on a computer, pull up files, rename things,
put stuff where they belong. I have so much fight in
me, because I know I can. I can do anything that I think I can do. My future looks unstoppable. It looks unstoppable, so. – [Narrator] Hi everyone,
thanks for watching. Currently, every single
person who has taken the Last Mile and been released, has acquired a full-time
job or higher education. So we are asking you to
please consider donating to the Last Mile, so they
can continue transforming the lives of incarcerated individuals. – I would like to add
that I’m really grateful to see this side of social media. To see that I didn’t have to stay in a box to do this interview. I could laugh and smile
and cry and it felt okay. So I just want to thank you for that.

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100 Comments

  • SoulPancake says:

    A huge thank you to everyone who has donated to The Last Mile so far. We are really excited to see The Last Mile expand to more facilities and provide even more learning resources to the women featured here.

  • Peace And Love says:

    May God bless this woman and her family. Her strength is unmeasurable. Hopefully she’s released soon.

  • William Sims says:

    She's going to do well!!! Keep on doing well lady…..I'm proud to see someone who is pushing through!!!

  • Excitable101 says:

    every inmate needs something to look forward to upon release or else it is a big revolving door.

  • Gregory Carine says:

    Good job. Way to keep it real. I don’t even know you but I’d bet my last that you’ll never go back and you will be wealthy soon.

  • Don Dadda says:

    There is something sexy about women in prison.

  • Ronald Fuller says:

    All of has made mistakes in our life. Me myself made a mistake in 1989. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Working two jobs since i came out of high school. One day so call friend ask me to drop him off at a hotel. Cops had a sting operation where they where the drugdealers. My suppose to be friend had a gun and i asked why are u taking a gun, he replied if you dont go with me i am taking my gun. So he left the gun and i went up in the room with him and thats how the law kept me in this crime. Because i went up in the room with him. No drugs are money was mines, but i knew what he did for a living. That is the choice i made to go with him to make sure no one got hurt and it landed in at hunts correction, for 2in a half years. I served my time and been working in houstn texas for 26 years for shell oil company on the ship channel. Have always worked, but one mistake and the choice i made messed up my life. But god know our hearts and i got on my knees i told god i messed up god and please give me your blessing to come into my life and guide me. I prayed that prayer and feb 1993 and i never look back. And god have been blessing me every since. So i hope the sister in Oklahoma Correctional center see this testimony and know never give up keep your head to the sky and never stop talking to him. I am a oldshool 56 year old proud afro American man. Much love to the ones that never give up

  • Natural Notts says:

    This made me cry and left me so inspired at the same time. This woman has GREATNESS written all over her. How can she still be so STRONG and upbeat after being given a 20 yr prison sentence?? If she can get through that and still have joy in her heart, WE ALL can get through whatever we're going through. Bless her. Bless us ALL. x

  • marvin devon says:

    She's Beautiful 💖

  • Toya Dee says:

    Crazy to see your own state on something like this . The lightskinned girl at the computer with the lighter brown hair, I went to high school with here in Tulsa.. lol crazy world

  • LaJette Holland says:

    Now i see why ppl support inmates.circumstances vary..

  • JK number5 says:

    How she get 20 years for witnessing a murder? That white guy that got ran out of college because cops didn't put him in prison for stopping that little black girl from getting raped & murdered in that casino bathroom from his best friend?

  • Nathalie Noel says:

    I am from Trinidad love her she was dealt the wrong pack of cards but will overcome in jesus name Love causes you to do stupid things because u was the only one in love he was not but u are a strong black woman

  • James Gretsch says:

    They learn coding for free.

  • shit ass says:

    They in there drinking urine and period blood

  • Wade Cahill says:

    What a beautiful woman, she really touched my heart and reinforced my belief that education in prison is the key to their success on the outside

  • Jasmine Fly says:

    My home state of oklahoma has more Women, Mothers and Sisters incarcerated than anywhere else on earth! It's a sick reality and undue. What is the harshest aspect of this reality is when thse women have "served" their time, they will most likely not find employment due to their felony status. We give praise to these programs but it is modern day slavery. Plan and simple. #FreeBH

  • Ronald Booker says:

    It's the system who looks at men and women as number, God looks at us as people who deserve forgiveness and countless chances!! JESUS bore the sins of the world!! FACTS!! God bless her, and keep her!!🙏🏾❤

  • Life of the Hatchett’s 1 says:

    Beautiful, well spoken, and definitely UNSTOPPABLE!!!! God bless her soul

  • grow flowers for the bees please says:

    Early Release. And Monitored at the Same Job She has Aspired & Teaching. Some People are hardened..from what She's accomplished…feel she isn't. Give her a Chance in Society earlier. 🦄🕊AMEN

  • Zoe 101 says:

    I love her story and her perseverance. My prayer for her as well is to go for counseling when she is set free. I sense a lot of hurt, pain, anger and let downs because of her incarceration. She has the potential to win and be a success story to so many. Wishing her all the best!

  • Tafari Boozer says:

    See in america what they dont talk about is inequality, how it literally destroys people especially minorities. Not saying everyone and everybody in jail thats incarcerated is innocent, I get it you do the crime you do the time. Ninty percent of inmates especially black come from poor households. But this lady here is not making excuses why she ended up incarcerated, she knows she made a bad choice, much respect to her.

  • yvonne goodgridge says:

    THIS IS AN AMAZING PROGRAM PLEASE DONATE. @Beyonce @Caridb @jayz @

  • Hey There says:

    Damn these ladies are Blessed! lucky they're not in TX prisons cuz they wouldn't get anything but ged if they're lucky.

  • Nicole Peters says:

    My allergies have really started to act up!😢 This lady is such a blessing, such an inspiration!

  • Jocelyn Pettis says:

    They need this in every prison… 💓

  • Barbara Brunson says:

    🏆 This woman needs to tell her story to sooo many women. This was a GREAT video and I wish happiness and success to Ms. Culver for the rest of her life.

  • Tombi Mashri says:

    4 sure she should released. Its shame people in the wrong place at wrong time and did not commit the actual crime most times cannot afgord an attorney and are sent to prison for so long. Their parents and children are also facing emotional prison time. Very sad indeed. God Bless you all.

  • bootknock k says:

    great story and the first thing she did was owned her mistake thats a real woman…hope she gets out and live her life with her children and i'm sure she'll be able to reach and touch a few more women b4 they end up here so yes im sending a donation!!!!!!

  • Oman Luciano says:

    That’s bullshit, that cop that killed that teen in Chicago only got 6-15 years!

  • Erick Onassis says:

    What would happen to a man in a womans prison..

  • ibmeue123bigdaddy says:

    I congratulate you on one hand and support your release; but on the other hand I encourage you to remember that you're not the victim to avoid minimizing the impact of your crime.

  • Tonya Taylor says:

    This is very Sad… All behind a man / boyfriend…. She lured the guy to the hotel to be robbed and his life was lost behind. So she's equally culpable or an accessory for the crime.. but I can tell she learned for her mistake. God bless her 🙏

  • Mr. Avery says:

    20 yrs for 2nd Degree Murder? Was skeptical until she explained & took full responsibility for her actions. I wish you countless blessings.

  • Selena says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think she had any remorse for what she did ….for what SHE did, not anyone else but HER….I’m sure her future does seem unstoppable, as she won’t have any student loan debt or have to worry about tuition for her children . I wonder if the victim of her crime left any children behind that needs a free education as well.

  • Baby Girl says:

    She's beautiful!!

  • Irving Taborn says:

    Yes congratulations sister keep going keep going Mabel keep going you and the other sisters never give up keep God first keep focus on your family amen amen

  • J Daye says:

    Men prisons will never get this

  • Ms. Frias says:

    Culver looks like a teacher wdh she do

  • Pearl Rodgers says:

    20 years that's wrong Black people's always receive more time than whites wrong

  • Kim Poore says:

    Oh my gosh what prison is this??? Very nice here in Texas they are so old school.

  • Nakeia Simpson says:

    💖💯💕🙏🏽

  • Teddy White says:

    Love me a Beautiful Stank feet X convict, when is she getting out😏

  • Alright Now says:

    I feel it will all work out for you keep that positive energy and just know you will be fine.

  • CeeCee says:

    I 🙏 she is out and living a beautiful life.

  • kirk mitchell says:

    I WOULD LIKE TO WRITE HER.SO MOVING!

  • Garry P. says:

    Such an inspiring story and a blessing to many. I wished her the and all the other women the very best after they're released

  • SevynGaude Johnson says:

    Shes pretty

  • Michelle Griffin says:

    Wow. Please give this woman a chance. She's the real deal. Not faking, holding anyone responsible but her. I love that. Yes….u go lady!

  • Shadae Pares says:

    She is such a beautiful woman 💟💟

  • S. F. Shaw says:

    A new class of slaves coming through!

  • Laurette Thomas says:

    I love her spirit God bless her & her children. she needs to write a book & tell her story

  • kristina hamilton says:

    This is so great that they are transforming the lives of these women inmates.

  • Tyrace Abdul raheem says:

    You got be careful who you hang with.

  • Sharon48 Mc says:

    She had me in tears , she should not be serving a 20 year sentence this is ridiculous release her early

  • N Mc says:

    First lady is beautiful I'll write her

  • Peterson Remolien says:

    She's a beauty,. Love her.

  • long wolf saint says:

    Its never too late for someone to turn their life around and this lady proves that abundantly she is the role model that most women need to follow now days 👍

  • Huegene Francis says:

    Life is good ,seems no missing much, you r paying for whatever causes u folks to b there in a celebrity style,many millions that r not locked up and free don't have and can't live the standard you folks r getting for free ,,many of who r working can't afford it either…

  • wandanmirayly says:

    There should be no reason as to why I should pay for criminals to get educated when I have to work hard to pay for my own, so we should become criminals in order to get free education???

  • pinkbutterfly213 says:

    As soon as she opened her mouth I was like wow. She is very well spoken and intelligent.

  • Maria Casella says:

    She seems so smart,wrong place at the right time,she looks like a Nurse or Educational services,I hope when she is released she will have a bright future.she can really make a difference in the world..she is making a difference now with inmates…Our past doesn't define us

  • Maria Casella says:

    Someone help her!!get her out!!She should write a book

  • Hannah Meehan says:

    Not enough people have seen this.

  • 805/510/713 original says:

    I don't know about her story if you just walk in and you had nothing to do with it then she should have told the police right away

  • Destiny Joyner says:

    The.q uestion is are you willing to invest in these people live thats not like yours. The life you save maybe your own or someone elses.

  • Jemease Tate says:

    I can’t watch this all the way through. She definitely deserves a second chance!!!!

  • MMN says:

    20 yrs!!!? For something she didn’t personally do!? Jeez!!! Rapists get less time than that!

  • kenyaette says:

    Dang!! I hope her kids support her 💯 percent and her family because is elegant and classy!! Personality is outstanding!!! I hope the best for her, anything can happen to anyone.

  • Angel Warrior says:

    Let that poor lady out so she can make a life for herself, she would be a great contribution to society, shame on this law system!!!! She is innocent it was not her fault!

  • butterflybless bless says:

    Much love & Healing for all of these Queens 💛💛💛

  • Arthur Mcfly says:

    You could have been a tripper you had to go do something illegal to go to jail I just wish you learn from your mistake

  • Anonymous says:

    Women explaining the Tax issue, couldn't been well said. She is right, people complain about tax money being wasted in prison, but can't understand the lack of not having them work. Cant complain.

  • leon divers says:

    Something is not right about her.

  • Marlene Etheredga says:

    Beautiful smile great personality you have many many blessings coming your way this is part of your Journey to get to where you need to be God bless you

  • Tyrese143 says:

    I don’t have a high school diploma and landed 8 consecutive interviews. I stopped coding I didn’t think I could get a job but now a jail history learning to code ! More motivation

  • American Girl says:

    A bunch of excuses for a criminal. When do people who don't commit crimes get a free education? There are people who grew up poor, have been in abusive relationships but don't kill and rape…when do we get rewarded?

  • Daniel Wright says:

    There is no such thing as a criminal or animal, just humans doing stupid stuff in a bad mental state or no education. In prison, there are only a few who are intelligent from education.

  • Carmen Rodriguez says:

    We all make mistake but God is good and I pray u come home soon

  • T2P 2012 says:

    I thought she was a tv presenter dressed up as a inmate. #FreeTocquiana

  • Ghost Princess says:

    12 years…dam. I wish them all, the best .

  • Sharetha Green says:

    She is pretty…hope u she make it for her self☘️🍀☘️🍀☘️

  • Sharetha Green says:

    Oklahoma City ok ☘️🍀405

  • Kellyjoanne Sprackling says:

    I'd love her as a mother strong black women xx

  • Stephon TheDon says:

    💤

  • kaleb black says:

    Hang in there doll, your an israelite

  • MsCee says:

    I do wish as these ladies the best. However, I think it’s a shame that they have to go begging the public for monies to help them get the education and training that they need to become productive citizens. I believe this is something that should be provided by the government with the taxes that are paid.

    Also, if access to job training and education were provided before these women got in trouble it possibly could have prevented their imprisonment.

  • Jupiter Apollo says:

    Respect to this woman. Hopefully when she finishes her time she can make something of herself in the outside world.

  • Victoria Davies says:

    Props to the woman who dropped out at 13 her story is just beautiful!

  • j c says:

    black woman inmate killer now software engineer? whaaa?

  • TheReal Nellvee says:

    Why can’t an organization pay for her legal appeal or at least a shorter sentence. All the things she’s done on the inside is proof that she deserves too be on the outside. She has proven herself & she’s such a sweet soul! ❤️💪🏾

  • Rune Johansen says:

    Sounds like a wise women…l wish her all the luck in the world 😊

  • Allan Orina says:

    Yeah teach them how to code , but put them on probation for life with a fucked background that they can't get jobs , even after their time is done ,

  • heather jones says:

    I love you toc. She was my mentor when I was in there with her. She is the sweetest soul you would ever meet

  • Cory Soto says:

    Beautiful

  • Tulip says:

    She keeps saying that "we" put her in prison. Girl, YOU put yourself there…Please.

  • Muge Samci says:

    can’t believe how positive she is

  • Sam Lutfi says:

    She lured two men using sex as bait to a hotel room where both her and her boyfriend robbed the men and then he killed both of them. this woman deserves to rot in hell and die in prison. This channel is glorifying a cold blooded murderer

  • graceeeeeee5 says:

    This woman is absolutely captivating. Coding is an immensely valuable talent but she has a TRUE GIFT with words. If she at any point in time puts out some writing, I can only hope to come across it.

  • Isabella S says:

    Wow

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