Inmate Vocational Training Discussed in Paducah
By Mike Cooper, West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH - A discussion was held Thursday afternoon for beginning a vocational education program for inmates at the McCracken County Regional Jail.

Those attending were Mary Anne Medlock with West Kentucky Workforce, McCracken County Jailer David Knight, Arnie Puckett, Tyler Davis, and Stephen Carter with the McCracken County Regional Jail, Paducah Mayor Pro Tem Richard Abraham, Alan Paul and Brandon Wilbur with the Paducah Area Technology Center, John Pendergrass with Kentucky Career Center in Paducah, Mike Gentry volunteer with the Keeton Correctional Facility, and by telephone conference, Tom Pyron and Will Greer with Four Rivers Career Academy in Hickman, and Eric Hamilton with the Fulton County Detention Center, also in Hickman.

McCracken County Jailer David Knight spoke with West Kentucky Star about this program. "What I've seen in corrections has not been working, and I think we need to provide them with some kind of opportunity and some skills to be productive citizens when they get out." Knight said he hopes this program will help break the cycle of incarceration, that is seen so much in corrections today.

The Justice to Journeyman program was discussed, and the Fulton County participants explained the success they have had with inmates at the Fulton County Detention Center, with the help of the Four Rivers Career Academy.

It was pointed out that inmates at the Fulton County Detention Center have the opportunity to become certified in welding, as well as to participate in a carpentry program. 

Several inmates have earned their certification, and one inmate has even been offered a job upon being released.

The program relies on partnerships with businesses, training centers, and instructors. The McCracken County program would most likely use the resources of the Paducah Area Technology Center.

Brandon Wilbur, welding instructor at the Paducah Area Technology Center, told West Kentucky Star, "I think a program like this could give them a vision, it could give them a goal, it could give them the mindset that I've got the skills and the knowledge to get a decent job."

Mary Anne Medlock, with West Kentucky Workforce, also commented that several other counties are very interested in starting such programs.

Jailer Knight said he hopes to see progress toward getting the McCracken County program started within two months.

Published 08:30 PM, Thursday Feb. 07, 2019
Updated 09:06 PM, Friday Feb. 08, 2019

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