The Federal Bureau of Prisons is expanding its commercial driver’s license program to focus on incarcerated women.
“CDL training is a career field which is in high demand throughout the U.S.,” said Donald Murphy, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Information, Policy and Public Affairs Division, in an interview with Transport Topics. “Inmates who complete this training are gaining valuable career skills which afford them the opportunity to earn livable wages to support themselves and their families upon release.”
BOP has basic education requirements for inmates without a high school diploma or their GED to attend adult literacy programs for at least 240 hours or until they receive their GED.
“Over the past year, the BOP has doubled its CDL programs which offer the possibility of obtaining license, and is working to actively expand it over the next year. Additionally, there are 32 institutions, male and female, which offer the instruction portion of the CDL program,” Murphy said.
Where is this being done?
There are six states that have a CDL program in their federal prisons, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas.
As of July, BOP had 10,700 female (6.8% of its population) and 146,700 male (93.2%) inmates.
“The BOP only offers in-person training and is making a concerted effort to expand CDL programs to more inmates with a focus on women,” Murphy stated.
There are not very many requirements for joining the CDL program, inmates just need to have valid a driver’s license and in some cases, other state-specific licensing materials.
Between October 2020 and September 2021, 40 inmates completed the CDL program. The program is free for inmates expected to be released in six months and has no CDL disqualifications.
The plan for the program is to launch one or two male facilities and expands it to all Connecticut Department of Correction facilities.
Currently, Connecticut has 13 state correctional facilities, one each for women and teenagers.
How will this get done?
The program will be a partnership with Emerge. Emerge will be supplying technology and a training platform for the program.
Upon inmate release, Emerge Career will, “immediately place students in one of its partner driving ranges or connect them with employers that offer in-house training programs so they obtain the full CDL license.”
This program will hopefully incentivize people into a career in trucking. Ultimate with the goal of ending the long-lasting truck driver shortage. A focus on expanding the training will also open doors for proper rehabilitation back into society.
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