There are a surprising number of crochet programs for inmates and one of those is located at the Saginaw Correctional Facility. The forty men that make up the group recently made sweaters to participate in the Mister Rogers’ Sweater Contest. However, they also crochet for charity.
Mister Rogers’ Sweater Contest
This year marked the second year of the annual Mister Rogers’ Sweater Contest. This is a contest ending today that was open to Michigan state residents. They were asked to create a handmade sweater for a child aged two through twelve. The sweater could be made in any style and will be judged on the complexity and creativity of the pattern as well as the quality of both workmanship and yarn. The winners are awarded yarn and other supplies. The point of the contest is to raise money for public broadcasting. The members of the Lifers prison group worked together to complete about a dozen sweaters for the competition.
Prisoners Crochet for Charity
This is only one of many charity groups that the prison group has given to. A key reason to have crochet programs in prison is because it provides inmates with a way to give back to their communities despite being in prison. (Other reasons include a productive use of time, gaining a new skill and doing a meditative hobby.) This particular group sent out about 1200 knit and crochet projects to various causes last year including baby blankets and teddy bears for kids in need. They hope to send out more than 2000 items in 2011.
This Group Also Knits
One of the things that I found really interesting about this particular prison group is that they knit as well as crochet. In fact, I believe that the Mister Rogers’ sweaters were knit items. I find this interesting because I’ve often heard the argument that crochet hooks are much safer and less likely to be used as weapons and therefore it’s more common to see crochet programs in prison than knit programs.
What’s your opinion on crochet programs in prison? Good? Bad? Indifferent?