New Job Training Program for Prison Inmates

Gov. Susana Martinez

STATE News:

Gov. Susana Martinez announced a new program to provide job training for prison inmates. This program will have inmates repair and refurbish broken wheelchairs and bicycles, and send them to those in need.

The New Mexico Corrections Department has partnered with Joni and Friends Wheels for the World. The non-profit organization will provide the broken wheelchairs, and active gang members at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility (SNMCF) will refurbish the wheelchairs. Joni and Friends will then pick up the load once 200 chairs have been refurbished, and ship them to third world countries.

“This project requires offenders to work together on a project bigger than themselves,” Martinez said. “I am confident that when these offenders see pictures of children who have been given one of these wheelchairs their hearts will start to change. It’s only when we start to change hearts that we can really say these offenders will leave prison better than they came in.”

In addition to fixing broken wheelchairs, offenders will also be refurbishing donated bicycles. Those bicycles will then be given to children in our state who would not receive a Christmas gift otherwise.

“Our partners at the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association have agreed to collect these bikes for us,” New Mexico Corrections Cabinet Secretary Gregg Marcantel said. “When we in law enforcement work together, our communities are safer. Partnering in this out of the box initiative ensures that we have a chance to deeply affect a child’s life, and hopefully rehabilitate more offenders as well.”

The Wheels for the World shop will be up and running at SNMCF by next summer. The program is also expected to provide the bicycles to children by Christmas 2014.

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