Department of Corrections Has New Equipment to Expand Inmate Rehabilitation Program - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Corrections Has New Equipment to Expand Inmate Rehabilitation Program

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YAKIMA, Wash-- Yakima County Jail is becoming a model for inmate rehabilitation and now they've received a generous donation to help expand the program. Pape' Machinery Handling has donated a forklift.

For the Yakima County Department of corrections inmate rehabilitation is important. The forklift is now one more tool that they can use for their program.

Jail to work, the DOC is preparing inmates for the workforce after they're released. From flagger certification to food handlers permits and now forklift certification. 

Investing in inmate education saves us money in the long run. "You basically get a return of $6 for every $1 you invest into these types of programs and really where that return is coming from is that these folks aren't re-offending and they're not coming back into the system," said Dean Mason, executive director Washington State Jail Industries Board.

Qualified inmates will receive classroom instruction by two DOC employees who are trained in the certification program. Then inmates will train on the forklift. A useful skill to have in our agricultural community.

Pape' Material Handling donated the lift to the program. For them, it just makes sense to give back and they hope to see results.

"To see the crime rate go down and see some folks have some real opportunities once they leave this facility. It's as simple as that," said Ken Pollard, Pape' general manager.

Inmate, Michael Robertson, is a perfect example of jail education success. He'll be released soon. Robertson plans to pursue his master's degree and even write a book. 

"I didn't really have a good attitude when I came here and I started to see some of the programs that they had to offer. Some of the staff stepped up above and beyond the call of duty, when they saw that I was willing to help myself," said Robertson.

The DOC is going to be training almost non-stop and could potentially certify hundreds of inmates before they're released.