Thank you Liberals for giving us another program, “Program prepares inmates for future”

How ever you see this, I don’t believe the punishment fits the crime when going to prison now gives you a leg up! – Don’t you think this will have another affect, like folks committing crimes to get these dream jobs? I can’t see why ANYONE would do it the “old fashioned way”, by the sweat of their brow, or on their own laurels. I’m betting a lobbyist is behind this, and it’s good for some cronies business, what do you think about this story?

Program prepares inmates for future

MANSFIELD — Jose Mata was scheduled to start his new job today.

The Fremont man just got out of prison Wednesday.

Mata, 38, served 10 months at Richland Correctional Institution for a theft committed in Sandusky County. He is among the first inmates who has completed commercial driver’s license training at RiCI.

The program is a partnership featuring the RIDGE Project, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, P.I. & I. Motor Express, and Trainco Inc.

The RIDGE Project is a Christian, nonprofit organization founded in 2000 and dedicated to serving the youth and families of Ohio.

Featuring an inaugural class of four, the soon-to-be-released fathers completed TYRO Dads, one of the RIDGE Project’s ethics programs. Trainco conducted the CDL instruction, while P.I. & I. Motor Express provided the equipment and will offer jobs to the inmates as they are released.

Mata is the first.

“It’s a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity.

“I’m going to work.”

Participants have to pass through rigorous screening to be part of the program.

“We are so pleased to be a part of bringing transformation to fragile families,” said Catherine Tijerina, co-director of the RIDGE Project. “When a dad begins to dream again, he begins to lead his children into a future defined by hope.”

Mata has two daughters, 16 and 5, and a wife waiting for him in Fremont. His mom also lives there.

Mata’s wife visited him in prison several times, but he didn’t want his daughters “to see me in this environment.”

Mata’s theft offense happened at Kmart.

“It was the biggest mistake because I was working,” he said. “I can’t change the past. I can just change the future.”

Having a job will help Mata do just that.

“A CDL license will give the fathers the ability to provide for their families and become responsible, productive citizens. He becomes a contributor instead of someone who is always taking,” RIDGE Project Co-Director Ron Tijerina said.

“This is for the dad’s family, that they can stop the generational cycles of incarceration. This gives the family not only a second chance, but a chance to do something with it.”

Mata is ready for that second chance.

“The last couple of nights I’ve been kind of anxious,” he said. “I keep calling my wife, who gets off work at 6 or 7 a.m. She’s like, ‘Can I get some sleep?’ ”

After going through additional training in Youngstown, Mata’s route will be a triangle between Chicago, Indiana and Michigan.

“I should be home every two or three days,” he said.

Mata said his wife initially was upset that he’d be gone that much.

“I told her this was a good kind of gone,” he said. “Now I can start bringing some income in and supporting the kids.”

Mata said going through the TYRO Dads ethics programs will make him a better father.

“I could talk to them better,” he said of phone conversations with his daughters. “TYRO teaches you how to be a productive citizen … how to be a man, stand up and take responsibility.”

The training to get a trucking license involved semis on the prison campus.

“I loved it because it was hands-on,” he said.

Mata said he had a CDL for four years, but let it expire.

“I always wanted to get it back,” he said.

Now that Mata has, he’s ready to start his new life.

“I’d like to get there, get the door open and get going,” he said.

mcaudill@gannett.com 419-521-7219 Twitter: @MNJCaudill

Here’s what they are saying on the MNJ, if you’re CENSORED – speak up here!

Jerald Miller

Too bad you have to commit a crime to get a free CDL license, there are a lot of people that haven’t commited a crime that would like to have one.

Gabriel Reid Crumpler · Works at URS Corporation

Good luck to Mr. Mata. It’s nice to read a positive story like this.

Marie Berberick Scott · FollowFollowing · Top Commenter

What a wonderful program….Good luck to all that are going through this program…hope it works for them and their families

Lynn Steele · Top Commenter

CDL’s  aren’t cheap..the training is very expensive…many drivers pay years on their loans just as any training program…and all they would have had to do is commit a crime….so let’s take a man who has already shown he can’t be trusted and put them behind the wheel of a potentially deadly vehicle…..i’m not a fan of this program…at all…People who approve of this obviously don’t realize what a semi is capable of doing…it can be a deadly vehicle with an irresponsible person….
  • Marie Berberick Scott · FollowFollowing · Top Commenter

    l know exactly what a truck can do…my husband drove for 35 yrs….this man made a mistake…and has paid for it…would you rather throw him back out on the street with no job,…no way to take care of his family so he would steal again just to make ends meet??  At least he is trying…they are not just handing him this job…he had to work for it..I think it is a wonderful program and hope that more people can get help from this
  • Lynn Steele · Top Commenter

    Forgetting your keys is a mistake….this man .is not trustworthy.if your husband drove obviously either he didn’t take his job seriously…or you have no clue…an irresponsible person who ends up in prison has no right controlling that much power….what about the ones who pay years on loans and have done nothing?..is that fair?…why not give them a doctorate while we are at it…and they can be brain surgeons…I’m so tired of bleeding heart people.  It’s why we have  repeat offenders.  If it was 10 years from now, yea, give them a chance.  But right out of prison does not mean you are responsible. It just means you got out of prison.  Just because you are out of prison does not mean you are rehabilitated and doesn’t mean you have paid all your dues.  In order to do that you must prove you are responsible.
  • Jeff Brewer · Top Commenter

    Lynn Steele …go back to bed

Richard Kemp · Works at Self-employed

Is this reallyt a good use of tax dollars! Besides paying fior the CDL training, testing, we as tax paxers are also paying Department of Motor Vehicles to have an office inside the prison. Yes, inside the prison. So when you have to wait at Motor Vehicles thank this program
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