Monday, December 17, 2007

Crochet Your Way To Heaven

The following is from Felons hooked on crocheting as "small part" of atonement in the Seattle Times:
Prisoners at Oregon State Correctional Institution make scarves, caps, afghan blankets for charities that help the homeless and children. "I've taken from society," said one, serving a life sentence for killing three men in 1986. "There needs to be some effort on my part to give back."

"This is just a small part of not being a jerk my whole life," said Rivas, who is serving a life sentence for killing an ice-cream store manager in 1987. "It's a good feeling that I had to learn to enjoy."

The men belong to an exclusive crochet club: They are inmates at the Oregon State Correctional Institution. They meet for three hours a week in a prison recreation room.

The crochet hooks get locked up when class is over.

Co-founded by Rivas in 2005, the inmate crochet club was tough to get off the ground. Cons who lift weights and play basketball weren't eager to make themselves the target of teasing — or worse.

But the program has surged in popularity.

Crochet-club members are mostly killers and sex offenders, long-term inmates with plenty of time on their hands and a lot to atone for. It's also a way to relax in an environment heavy on rules, mind-numbing routine and the occasional threat of violence.

Some are complaining. Saying that the inmates shouldn't get any credit for their charitable works. Those people need to realize that *if* part of our penal system is to involve any rehabilitation, we need to credit folks for positive works and positive changes. Sure, others, including non-violent types, do more -- or at least have nothing to atone for; but good deeds are good deeds.

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