Female inmates at Inland Empire facility graduate with training in carpentry, coding

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There were about 70 inmates graduating from the California prison industry authority pre-apprentice program, which trained them in carpentry, construction labor, maintenance and coding. (KABC)

Jonala Jones has spent the last seven years serving time at the California Institution for Women in Corona after being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

She's eligible for parole early next year.

"It's scary, thinking about going home. Not knowing how you're going to handle things. I heard it's hard out there, especially when you're getting out of prison. These skills give me more peace of mind knowing I obtained something that can help me get a job," Jones said.

Jones was one of 70 inmates who graduated from the California prison industry authority's pre-apprentice program. These women are now trained in carpentry, construction labor, healthcare facilities maintenance and for the first time - coding.

"I have things to do. I have a career. I'll be able to make money the right way instead of resorting to crime to get by. I want to be a carpenter. I want to get a union job, make money, get the big bucks," inmate Ashley McCrimmon said.

McCrimmon is serving time for burglary. She now has experience in taking elevations and laying and filling concrete.

"Everybody supports one another. I learned to be a better team player. My bosses told me you're only as good as your last job. Therefore you have to strive for perfection, do your best every day. That's something I'm going to keep with me forever," McCrimmon said.

The goal of the program is to rehabilitate inmates by giving them a viable job. It's been successful in making sure they don't end up in custody again with a 7 percent recidivism for graduates. The coding program has a 0 percent recidivism rate.

"They're enthusiastic about the programs that we bring. They're open to change and trying new programs to make themselves more successful and you usually don't see that at other institutions," said Molly Hill, the warden of the California Institution for Women.

The California Prison Industry Authority holds one graduation a year at this facility. Once inmates are released and start their union job, the training organization will pay their union dues for the first year.
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societyprisoninmatesemploymentjobsgraduationCoronaRiverside County
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