In a program at Colorado’s Crowley County Correctional Facility, prisoners hand-make roof trusses and oak cabinets for use in Habitat For Humanity home. The inmates not only learn carpentry skills but the dignity of work:
“For me, personally, having that apprenticeship was priceless,” said Mike Voss. He learned carpentry when he served time at Crowley and now, five years after being hired as a benchman carpenter, is a co-owner of Artisan Cabinetry in Denver.
“Everything I’d done in the past was bad and illegal things. I had no work experience. I was able to use that apprenticeship to get a good-paying job I could survive on. If I hadn’t had that, I’d probably be in prison right now. I’d have to resort to illegal things to get the money I need to live on. That apprentice paperwork is basically what got me to where I am now.”
The work-ethic lessons began with sweeping the floors:
“I had to sweep floors for two months, because a lot of guys quit at that point and they want to see if you’re going to put in the effort,” Voss said. “If you did general maintenance in the shop, they knew you were willing to work your way up.”
Crowley Correctional Facility warden Michael Miller sees the carpentry program as something that benefits inmates, the prison and Habitat for Humanity clients.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Miller said.
“We’re not just building cabinets. We’re giving men in prison something to hope for when they get out, and something to occupy their minds when they’re in prison. They’re providing cost-effective homes, and the people who live in those homes, with a quality product. This gives these men a chance to learn a skill that will take them into a different way of life. This program reinforces all the positive discipline we all need in our lives.”
(Via: The High Calling)