A fleet of vehicles owned and operated by the Arizona Dept. of Corrections is now being maintained by female inmates, as the state seeks to give criminals a chance to learn a marketable new skill: auto repair.
The women, most of whom had no automotive experience before their incarceration, are learning the skills necessary to work as technicians under the department’s Fleet 100 program.
They perform a wide range of services including diagnostics, updating work orders, and completing mechanical repairs.
Work completed by each inmate worker is stored on the fleet software, so each person has a record of their experience when they’re released.
The innovate program was created to help reduce the rate of recidivism in Arizona.
To be considered for the program, inmates need to have at least three years left on their sentences. This allows the prisoners enough time to learn skills necessary for employment post-release and assures the fleet department it won’t have a revolving door of inmates to train.
After being rolled out in January, Fleet 100 has been an overall success. Richard Kauth, maintenance operations manager at ADC, said he hasn’t received any negative feedback, and the inmates appreciate the opportunity to learn a trade they can benefit from when looking for employment.
“They want to help themselves,” Kauth said. “We’ve taken it to a different level that wasn’t expected, and the results are showing.”