Monday, May 11, 2009


I wondered out loud about this the other day with my husband. It answered my question!!

I think it's wonderful that the women are allowed to do this!

You can also donate yarn to the prison. I wonder if any of the womens prisons in my area have a similar program?? I will have to check it out.

Published May 01, 2009 12:00 am -

Female prisoners crochet for change

By Tricia Pursell
The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE -- Inmates at Snyder County Prison are proving -- one blanket at a time -- that incarceration doesn't have to end in disappointment and failure.

Determined to make a difference, and to make good use of their time, several of the approximately 18 women at the county lockup spend hours each day crocheting beautifully colored and designed blankets to donate to various charities.

They have already donated 18 of them to Penn Lutheran Village in Selinsgrove, and have 15 more ready to send to the neo-natal units at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg.

"It's a great program, and a benefit not only to the prisoners, but a great benefit to us here at Penn Village," said Brian Black, activities director. He said the residents always complain about being cold, so the blankets are a welcome sight.

"I always liked helping other people," said Tracy Webb, an inmate who on Wednesday was busily working on a pastel-colored baby blanket to donate to the hospital. "I'm thankful to the warden for letting us do this, for helping me to give back to the community."

The activity is also helping Webb to grow as a person, and gain a more positive attitude about her situation. "I was reading all the time, staying to myself in my bunk," she said. "But now, I'm around other people."

Webb, who never knew how to crochet before, is looking forward to making blankets for her two grandchildren when she gets out.

"We need to realize these people are going to get out of prison one day, and we need to do the best we can to help rehabilitate them," said Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz. "If we are going to demand respect from them while they are incarcerated, we had better be willing to show them nothing less than what we expect."

After a recent trip to Pike County Prison, which has found much success in implementing a number of rehabilitation programs within its walls, Snyder County commissioners were stirred to see similar success and growth among its inmates, and continued to work with the warden to come up with some ideas.

"We have been talking about these types of programs for our prison over the last year, but we wanted to learn more from a prison that has been successful in implementing such programs," said Commissioner Malcolm Derk.

When approached with the idea of crocheting blankets for good causes, the inmates were immediately on board.

They even had a teacher on hand. A former inmate had learned how to crochet in state prison, and put her skills to use by teaching the others how to do it, Warden Ruth Rush said.

The skills they are learning go far beyond just making blankets, Rush explained.

"It shows them there are good things that can be done for other people that doesn't take a whole lot of time or money," she said. "They are learning to cooperate, take directions and learn responsibility."

Inmate Kathleen Day said she and the others think often about the families they will be touching through the blankets they make.

"We sit and pray over them," she said.

The positive change in the atmosphere of the women's wing is being noted.

"You can even see a difference in the amount of trouble they're getting into," said Kantz.

Day agrees. "It's relaxing. It relieved a lot of stress in the wing."

The women can now be seen helping each other. "That's really nice to see," said Day. "We're thankful for the opportunity."

Right now, the county is supplying yarn for the program, but the prison is hoping to receive donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals.

"Every time they bring a bag of yarn in, it's like Christmas," Day said with a smile, adding that a nice blanket can be made out of about six skeins of yarn.

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