It’s a hug worth a thousand words. Inmates have been waiting for this moment, in what felt like a lifetime.
Graduate Casey Pimley says he can’t wait to see his mother, just moments after the ceremony ended. “The anticipation is killing me,” said Pimley.
The inmates have been a part of the Quehannah Boot Camp in Clearfield County for the past six months. The program uses military practices to help convicted felons have a new outlook. “My life was really out of control. I just needed to change it. I have a son and a family and I just wanted to find a better way to live,” says Graduate
Many of the inmates get out before their minimum sentences if they go through this program.
However, Pimley says the program is much more, “I resolved family issues I never thought I’d resolve and I started speaking to my father after 13 years.”
There have been around 9,000 graduates over the past 26 years. The program holds a low reentry rate. “They’re on a good path and they accomplished their goals and I believe they’re all going to stick to their goals and go out there and do the best they can,” says drill instructor, Hunter Smitchko.
The inmates entered the facility at the end of October, six months later they have a diploma in hand. Pimley starts a job on Wednesday. “When we first started here I never thought this day would come,” says the 28-year-old.
The graduates turned in their gold hats for street clothes and get to walk out as free men and women, alongside the ones they love.