Arkansas Prison Truck-Driving School Hits Dead End

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Plans for a prison truck-driving school in Arkansas have apparently fallen victim to concerns about what happens when prisoners are put behind a vehicle's wheel.  They drive away.  Or at least that's what happened on at least three occasions last year.

Three inmates, driving prison vans used to transport other inmates to and from job assignments, drove away.  All three were eventually captured.  At the time, Arkansas was the only state in the region to allow inmates behind the wheel unsupervised.

In October, Correction Department Director Larry Norris ended the practice.  And now correction officers drive the work-release vans.

Still, some in south Arkansas say the region needs truck drivers.  Troy Bradley, president of the Pine Bluff Truck Driving School, says he would like to see a pilot project in one of the prisons.

The proposed program has had the support of some prison board members and the Riverside Vocational Technical School, which trains inmates in various skills.  Lyon says he and other mayors in south Arkansas also would welcome a prison truck-driving school in the area.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)