"Real Men Crochet" at Moore Haven
An inmate at Moore Haven crochets
Who knew that skeins of yarn and some crochet needles could be a catalyst for change?
That's what the inmates at Moore Haven Correctional Facility in Florida are discovering.
Started in April by assistant warden Douglas Fender, the "Real Men Crochet," or RMC, class gives inmates a chance to create blankets, scarves, hats, backpacks and purses for donation. Moore Haven gives the crocheted gifts to the organization Prison Fellowship, which ensures they are distributed to children in South Florida.
However, for the first set of completed wares, inmates were given the option to gift them to a loved one. "I made a blanket for my four-year-old daughter, and she couldn’t wait for me to send it home," says Tony Severance, an inmate at Moore Haven.
While the class is a novel idea, Stankeisha Burchell, case manager and public information officer, says they cannot take credit for its creation.
"The staff at Moore Haven would like to give credit where it is due – Northeast Ohio Correctional Center was the first to create the program. We now offer the class because Assistant Warden Fender loved the idea and pitched it to Moore Haven's Warden Laura Bedard, who also approved."
Inmates responded overwhelmingly. And interest is continues to build. "It's been five months, and the waitlist for the class is still growing," says Burchell.
The changes in attitude have benefit ted staff and inmates alike.
"Many of the 20 inmates currently assigned to the program have been the most prominent grievance writers," explains Burchell. "Since beginning the class, none of the inmates have written a grievance or been cited for a behavioral infraction."
December 10, 2012