30-to-life and pitching a startup

The Last Mile, a tech incubator at San Quentin State Prison, allows a select group of inmates to form startup ideas and pitch them to venture capitalists.

Active Alternatives

inmate entrepreneur damon cooke
  • Inmate: Damon Cooke
  • Sentence: 7 years to life

Damon Cooke wants to use technology to create higher quality adult daycare centers.

"I wanted to give back and not take anymore," he said. "I didn't want to be the criminal anymore."

Cook's company, Active Alternatives, would incorporate technology like Skype and video blogs to help elders connect with their families.

Elders often feel isolated, Cook said. Through technology, centers have the opportunity to reconnect seniors with the world we live in, the inmate said in his pitch.

After serving 24 years of his sentence, Cooke is up for parole in six months. The inmate hopes to take his entrepreneurship ambitions outside of prison. Cook says his experience behind bars is good prep for the pressures of entrepreneurship.

"No one knows pressure like a prisoner because you have to watch out for everything and everyone at all times," he said. "So if I'm cognizant of everything around me and can still perform under pressure, I don't think the business will have many things to worry about."

  @LaurieSegallCNN - Last updated April 01 2014 09:34 AM ET

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