Prisoners Help Unwanted Dogs Find Forever Homes By Knitting One Dog Sweater At A Time
The inmates at the Acute Mental Health unit at the Idaho Department of Correction have been busy taking part in the crafting program set up by the now-retired chaplain.
Using donated yarn, they make baby hats, afghans, blankets and other items that they donate to local hospitals. The program uses knitting looms and crocheting as a way to provide the inmates with healthy and calming activities.
“Some of the mental health offenders will say that they need a lot of patience to do this work,”
“This is a population that doesn’t have a lot of patience. So to have something unravel, to have to do it again and follow a pattern is a good skill to learn. We don’t have many activities that teach that. But it is something that will help them move forward.”
In another part of the prison complex, other inmates are kept busy as dog trainers. They are part of the Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho, a partnership between the Idaho Humane Society and the Idaho Department of Correction. The training program gets unwanted shelter dogs ready for adoption.
The members of the crafting program have now started to provide the canine “graduates” with stylish sweaters. By working together, the crafters and dog trainers are helping both the dogs and inmates.
This collaboration between the different inmates, provides a sense of accomplishment. Not only does it allow them the rare chance to help one another, it also provides the offenders with a chance to give something back to the community outside the prison.
Bill Stone, an offender who volunteer his free time to teach looming and crocheting says:
“The idea of collaboration, for a lot of the men here, that has been an unknown concept until now,”