A prison in Ohio has worked out a peculiar deal with a local trucking company. As part of their inmate rehabilitation program, the Richland Correctional Institution offers a Commercial Drivers License Program through which currently incarcerated inmates can earn their class A CDL.
Upon successful completion of their written exam, participants take part in a 4 week training program offered by Trainco, a local CDL school. Once they’re released from prison, they can choose to sign on with P I & I Motor Express as full-time trainees. During their time as trainees they do short hauls and stay at a local halfway house. Eventually they move on to longer OTR trips, and can then stay with the company or seek employment elsewhere.
According to Joseph Kerola, the president of the carrier, the drivers aren’t bad people. By offering them steady employment, he hopes that they won’t need to go back to whatever landed them in prison in the first place.
“Some of them have made a bad decision,” he said in an interview with the Norwalk Reflector. “People deserve a second chance. None of us are perfect. None of us have done everything right.”
While hiring convicted criminals may not be the most conventional way to find new drivers, P I & I is happy to find reliable drivers anywhere they can. “The demand for skilled truck drivers is going up and up,” Kerola said. “We have 40 trucks without drivers that we could fill, and there’s business there to do it.”
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