Learning for Civic Action Challenge



Justice-impacted developers building open source technology to increase education access in prison, while simultaneously creating scalable data infrastructure to support decarceration efforts.

Team Lead

Jessica Hicklin

Solution Pitch 

The Problem

There are 11 million people incarcerated worldwide. The US incarcerates over 2 million alone. The United States contains 1,566 state prisons, 98 federal prisons, 3,116 local jails, 1,323 juvenile facilities, and 80 Indian country jails. UnlockED’s goal is to ensure that every incarcerated individual has access to high-quality educational opportunities.

The Solution

UnlockED is an open-source education access and management platform for prisons that integrates with and collects data from existing learning management systems. With UnlockEd, correctional systems and incarcerated learners can forge a path towards formalized courses and degree completion. With UnlockED, correctional staff and prison educators can facilitate classes and programs. Course administrators can manage student enrollment, assign students tasks and projects, assess their students through quizzes or tests, and award certificates and degrees for completion. At the same time, UnlockED gathers reliable data on program enrollment, engagement, and efficacy. Management of that data is essential to both the individual and the institution. UnlockED facilitates keeping comprehensive records of achievement, enabling individuals to tangibly see what they have accomplished while incarcerated and prove their accomplishments to a parole board. Correctional administrators can track longitudinal outcomes, prove what works, refine policy and target both public and private investment.


  • 3,000 users of UnlockED’s platform
  • UnlockED is deployed in six prisons (four in Missouri and two in New York)

Market Opportunity

There are 2.3 million individuals incarcerated in the US. Of those, 60% of adults are functionally illiterate; less than 6% have access to higher education and 83% will be rearrested within 10 years of release. Our solution brings data driven opportunities to solve this crisis by increasing access and best-practices, especially in regions where arrest rates seem to be highest.

Organization Highlights

UnlockED is collaborating with two organizations (under NDA) and in the early stages of partnering with another to further its reach and impact.

Partnership Goals

UnlockED seeks:

  • Support generating revenue to complete statewide implementations as a national proof of concept.
  • Additional state partnerships for potential platform roll outs.

Organization Type:

St. Louis, United States


Working In:
United States

Current Employees:

Solution Website:

Solution Socials:

Solution Team:

  • Ms Jessica Hicklin Chief Technology Officer, Unlocked Labs

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