Jessica Hicklin is a founder and the CTO of Unlocked Labs, a tech nonprofit whose vision is, “Building a better justice system from the inside out.” Jessica came to this role as a formerly incarcerated individual who spent 26 years on the inside during which time she crafted and facilitated many educational initiatives. In partnership with Unlocked Labs and other currently incarcerated individuals, Jessica’s latest project is the creation of a Learning Management System that is created by and for justice involved individuals.
When she is not working to advance the presence of post-secondary education in the carceral space, Jessica is also an advocate for the rights of transfolks. Throughout her incarceration she brought and won two landmark trans rights cases.
Unlocked Labs aims to build a better justice system from the inside out by empowering justice involved individuals to build technology that enables systemic change. Founded by two formerly incarcerated software engineers, with support from educators and technologists on the outside, UL currently employs a team of five incarcerated developers who are building learning management system technology to make education more accessible for people in prison. UL’s system has been piloted in Missouri and used to bring education access to over 1500 incarcerated students. We are currently partnering to build a version of the platform to launch in other states.