The McCracken County Jail Inmate Training Program has its first women’s graduation ceremony Wednesday at the jail’s annex.
The inmates trained as an electrician’s assistant in a 60-hour course taught by Vincent Duncan at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
The members of the first female promotion were Lolita Carruthers, Amanda Courtney, Marcia Doublin, Patricia Kiefer, MaKayla Linley, Amber Owens and Lawana Quertermous.
All graduates of the program are or have been held in McCracken County Jail.
The program provided participants with the knowledge and understanding of electricity to become an electrician’s assistant. They can also take additional courses at WKCTC to become certified as electricians.
“We focused on house wiring, circuit breakers and fuses, how to strip and tie wires together, splices and things like that,” Duncan said. “We worked on installing light fixtures, sockets and fans and how to anchor the wire.
“It was 60 hours of lessons (from June 2 to June 30). They learned a lot of basics to be able to go out and help an electrician and be safe. They picked it up well. »
The overall inmate training program is called Project Phoenix, and it was the brainchild of jailer David Knight in an effort to reduce the recidivism rate, or the rate of inmates returning to prison after release.
The program started in late 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. This delayed the program, but it has come back strong thanks to the training provided by the WKCTC, training inmates in deckhand training, welding and electricity to land jobs that will keep them on the bucket list. payroll and out of the correctional system.
Courtney said she didn’t think she could do electrical work when the program was introduced to her. Now she wants to become a certified electrician.
“This program is synonymous with stability, self-esteem and a bright future. It means independence,” she said. “At first I really thought I couldn’t do it because it was a man’s job. I absolutely loved it. I’m really going to change careers.
“My family is really excited for me. My dad is so proud of me. He said, ‘That’s the direction you have to go.’ ”
Lt. Arnie Puckett – who helps oversee the program – said the women used the program’s new building to take their electrical training. The 16-by-40-foot building was donated by Graceland Portable Buildings and brought to the prison annex on May 11.