Imprisoned men crochet for needy kids

Jan. 23, 2005 at 12:11 PM

JAMESTOWN, N.D., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- More than a dozen inmates at James River Correctional Center in North Dakota are learning to crochet.

The men are making clothing for newborns in Africa, babies with AIDS in California and homeless children in Russian orphanages, the Fargo (N.D.) Forum reports.

A parishioner at a Lutheran church in Streeter, N.D., asked prison chaplain Mark Haines if inmates would make beanies for midwife kits bound for South Africa.

Haines said a few of the inmates had taken up crocheting on their own to make clothes for themselves, and were happy to make caps for mothers who have little to provide for their babies.

A few of the crocheting inmates have been released from prison, and one of them, Mike Taylor, is still at it.

"After the third day I said, 'That's pretty neat,' and I started doing it," Taylor said.

Taylor said the inmates on his floor never make fun of him. Instead, after learning why he is crocheting, others frequently ask him to teach them.

The 360 inmates at the medium-security prison generally have two years or less left on their sentences and are making a transition toward release, Warden Don Redmann said. The small crochet hooks used for the project are about the size of a ballpoint pen and made out of lightweight plastic.

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