The women’s prison in New England, North Dakota has more than 100 inmates, but some of the women are finding a way to serve their time while giving back to the community.
Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehabilitation Center is home to all kinds of inmates, and for many of the women time is something they have plenty of.
To help the women past the time and relieve stress, Deputy Warden, Vicki Urlacher, and some of the inmates started a new program.
“I have seen them crochet blankets, hats, scarfs . . sweaters for their little babies. There is just so much they can do with crochet.
The crochet group started in January and has about thirteen participants.
The women meet twice a week for two hours to crochet.
“It’s very therapeutic, and it takes away my problems, ” said Kristin Payne.
Heather Leavitt said she finds it “calming” and relaxing, while Melissa Booth said she has used her time to create “dresses and hats” for her granddaughters.
The items the women are crocheting are not only for their family and friends, but they are also donated to victims of domestic violence.
“I think that the people that are out there in domestic problems need to know people care. Maybe this will change somebody’s life,” said Payne.
Urlacher said giving back to the community is part of the women’s rehabilitation, but she is glad the program has had such a positive impact on the group.
The women recently donated two big boxes of items to a women’s domestic violence shelter in Dickinson, and the women are surprised by what they have accomplished.
“Im very impressed. They make some very beautiful stuff, ” said Urlacher.
In upcoming months the women said they plan on creating stuffed animals and children’s clothing for victims of domestic violence.