Marshall County Jailer Roger Ford, Calloway County Jailer Ken Claud and McCracken County Jailer David Knight pose on the platform outside of the McCracken County Jail Annex where 22 inmates from the three jails will be trained to work as deckhands once they are released from jail.

Jailers from McCracken County, Marshall County and Calloway County came together Monday morning to announce a new job training program that will benefit inmates from all three county jails.

McCracken County Jailer David Knight, Marshall County Jailer Roger Ford and Calloway County Jailer Ken Claud announced a new deckhand training program that will train inmates to work for barge companies once they finish their sentences. This training program will be the fourth available for McCracken County Jail inmates, and is the first joint program between the three regional jails.

The first deckhand class will have 22 inmates representing the three jails.

“My goal is for [inmate job training programs] to spread not just across the state, but I’d like to see it go across the country,” Knight said.

McCracken County Jail currently offers three job training programs in addition to the new deckhand training program: welding, HVAC and electrical. Knight said since the welding program started in 2019, only 18% of inmates who have participated in the job training programs have returned to jail.

Knight said convicted felons often have trouble finding employment after being released from jail, which may lead some to commit crimes that land them back in jail. His goal with the inmate job training programs is to provide training for in-demand jobs and give inmates a path to employment as soon as they are released from jail.

“Anytime we can put a better inmate out than we receive, we call that a success,” Knight said.

Ford reiterated this point, and said that jails often have a “revolving door” of inmates leaving, reoffending and returning to jail. Ford said programs like the job training program help to break this cycle.

Knight said the inmate training programs are paid through donations and commissary funds.

Claud said Calloway County Jail and Marshall County Jail are partnering to transport their inmates to McCracken County Jail, where the deckhand classes and training will take place.

Follow Hannah Saad on Twitter, @ByHannahSaad or on Facebook at

Follow Hannah Saad on Twitter, @ByHannahSaad or on Facebook at

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