By Max Bomber
INDIANAPOLIS – State prisons can now take inmates off site for career training meant to ensure they can earn a living wage once released.
Starting July 1, Senate Bill 173 authored by Sen. Michael Young, R–Indianapolis, will allow minimum security inmates to be eligible for offsite training by the DOC. Offenders who have less than 24 months before being released will be allowed to participate in the program.
Inmates must not have been disciplined for misconduct within the previous year, not present a security risk, and be cleared by a physician if under a physician’s care to apply for the program.
The programs could include training in truck driving, manufacturing, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, construction, and diesel technology.
The goal is to prevent recidivism. More than half the criminals released from prison commit another crime within three years, Young said.
And Chief Communications Officer Douglas Garrison said “97 percent of people in our prisons are going to become citizens again at some point and we are going to provide them with employment and education.”
The program has taken several years to put into law, even though the DOC has been providing similar training in house. “We are seeing that men and women who are employed are coming back too prison at much lower rate,” Garrison said.
The legislation creates a variety of different opportunities for offenders and creates a system that sets them up for employment after their time in prison. “The bill is beneficial because companies are in need of workers with this kind of expertise and the public is no longer paying for them to be incarcerated, which creates less crime,” Young said.
Max Bomber is a reporter for TheStaehouseFile.com a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.