Wheeler Correctional Facility Inmates look to brighten futures
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Inmates at the Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo are looking forward to their lives after prison.
“I have an opportunity for a new start,” said future diesel mechanic David Ruiz.
Starting up a diesel engine takes lots of different parts.
“Going around a truck, and seeing what’s all on the truck, and how many components it has to it,” said future diesel mechanic Selwyn Goodlow.
Beginning a new life starts with a just a few simple choices.
“I’ll be able to come home with something I didn’t come in here with,” said Goodlow.
“They’re giving me a chance to do something with myself,” said Ruiz.
They decided they wanted something new.
“I just see all the demand out there in transportation,” said Ruiz.
And they got it.
“Getting out here to work on the truck that’s actually running, being around an engine that still works, you know, that’s pretty exciting,” said Goodlow.
They’re working to become diesel mechanics through a partnership between the Georgia Department of Corrections, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Oconee Fall Line Technical College, and CoreCivic, who runs the prison.
“It’s going to give me something to provide for my family when I get out there and be able to do something and be able to be independent,” said Ruiz.
They have some of the same goals as inmate Kristopher Ricketts, who’s working to be welder right across the hall.
“I welded in high school 10, 12 years ago, and now getting back out there and getting these certifications that Wiregrass Technical College offers,” said Ricketts. “It’ll make it so much easier for employment when I get home.”
Getting home with something they didn’t have before–that’s Principal Carol Stroberg’s goal for the inmates.
“They offer a lot of opportunities, of course our newest to, is the welding and diesel mechanics, we’re very excited about the possibilities for these men when they get out,” said Stroberg.
Getting out to start a new life by welding together and engineering new parts of their lives.
“(It’s) an actual trade that I can go out and use,” said Goodlow.
“What better to do your time than to gain some knowledge?” said Ruiz.
“I thank the Lord,” said Ricketts.