With the demand for drivers at an all time high, some carriers may find drivers from unexpected places, even prison.
At first glance, this seems to be a chance to meet multiple needs simultaneously. The driver shortage has pushed transportation fleets to maximum capacity, which will begin to cripple the industry in the coming years if the demand for truckers is not met. Meanwhile, there are millions of free and on-parole felons in the U.S. who are looking for a fresh start through meaningful work. There are some prisons that even allow inmates to begin earning their CDL while still behind bars. But is this a good idea?
Trucks.com recently highlighted the complexity of this issue, noting that “More than three-quarters of released prisoners are rearrested within five years, according to the National Institute of Justice.” On the other hand, research has also shown that “gainful employment [is] an effective buffer for reducing recidivism.”
The positive outcomes of employment (like not returning to a life of crime!) make it even more unfortunate that the “stigma associated with a criminal record can follow a person for years,” making getting a job nearly impossible at times for men and women who have already paid their debt to society.
In other words, a driving career can provide former convicts with a second chance at being productive citizens. But the idea of former inmates as truck drivers is not embraced by everyone. Critics fear that putting ex-cons behind the wheel may endanger others they share the road with, especially if the driver’s previous crimes were violent or otherwise related to acts of aggression.
Are ex-con truckers a danger to others on the road, or is it unfair to be suspicious of truck drivers who made mistakes in their past and now want a second chance? Let us know what you think in the comments below.