I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that there are a lot of prisons that offer crochet programs. I never really thought about who is running those programs until now since I’ve learned that one of the programs is run by a volunteer who has just received an award for her hard work.
The Statesman Journal reported recently that a volunteer named Karen Bennett had received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the The National Coalition of Community-Based Correctional and Community Re-Entry Service Organizations (NC4RSO). They explain that “the NC4RSO recognizes individuals and organizations that serve prison and re-entry related causes in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service.”
Crocheter Karen Bennett
Karen Bennet runs a crochet group at the Oregon State Correctional Institute. My assumption is that she teaches interested inmates how to crochet, helps them with stitches and organizes different projects for her group. The article says that the group makes a large variety of items including scarves, hats and toys. These crocheted items are then donated to people in need in hospitals, women’s shelters and through other local organizations. Bennett doesn’t just do this once a month or something like that either. She devotes four days per week to this charity crochet program!
Benefits of Crochet in Prisons
Some people wonder why there should be a crochet group in a prison setting. It’s because the benefits are numerous. Those benefits include:
- Offering a creative use of time for the inmates
- The inmates get a way to give back productively to their society through donations of their crocheted work
- The opportunity for inmates to learn a new skill
- Self-esteem can be built by learning to crochet and making items for others
- Meditative benefits that can be calming for inmates in a high-intensity situation.
Would you ever consider teaching crochet to prisoners? Why or why not?