The controversy surrounding the future of the women’s prison in New England, ND still hasn’t been resolved, but if the prison were to be relocated, the inmates would lose out on an opportunity the small community offers.
“It a nice two and a half hour break from the prison that is for sure,“ said Tashena Falcon, Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center inmate
On Thursday evening a few of the inmates from Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center headed over to New England Public School to develop their trade skills.
“They learn the fundamentals of stick welding, wire welding, torch cutting, plasma cutting, air arching amongst other things,“ said Ben Krebs, welding instructor.
The six-month class is two days a week for two and a half hours.
Many of the women KX News talked to said the welding program not only helps them take their mind off of the issues that landed them in prison, but it also helps them develop confidence that they can find success after prison.
“This is something I wanted to do to better myself, so I have this on my resume when I get out.. . . it really does open up opportunities,“ said Falcon.
Krebs said many of the women who have taken the class, “have not only found jobs in the community but various parts of the country“.
“It is a good paying job(welding). There are many welders needed out there,“ said Heather Tiger, Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center inmate
The end result of the women’s education is a 20-pound X-pad which takes about two months of hard work to make.
“This is a serious class you know, so I hope that anyone who decides to come to this program is doing it cause they want to use it further down the road,“ said Falcon.
Deputy Vicki Urlacher said only minimum security inmates are allowed to take the class, and when they’re done they have the opportunity to apply for a work-release program
Right now the prison has 70 minimum security prisoners.
About six women take the course every six months.
Giving Back to the Community
The inmates at the women’s prison also have something special planned for people in Dickinson,ND on Friday.
The women are putting together a donation drive for the victims of a fire at the Lily Pad Apartments, which took place on Tuesday.
Some of them are donating blankets, hats, and even toys they knitted themselves.
Others are donating food and personal hygiene products.
The women have also raised $500 dollars for the victims, and Urlacher said two of the women inmates are donating their month’s wages,
Two of the women said it’s important to them to give back and help out when needed.
“Absolutely it makes us feel like were still important. As inmates most of us feel like we are forgotten,” said Jenelle Chase Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center inmate.
Sherry Midstokke said, “Makes me feel I matter to somebody or what I make comforts other people”.
Thirteen families were living in the apartment building at the time of the fire.
They will deliver the donations to victims on Friday sometime.