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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Missouri Inmates Sew Quilts For Foster Children

Missouri Inmates Sew Quilts For Foster Children

Over the past 10 years, more than 2,000 personalized quilts assembled by the inmates of Missouri’s South Central Correctional Facility have been donated to children in the state’s foster care system or auctioned off to fund local charitable organizations. The small group of volunteers at the Licking, Missouri, prison spend their days making intricately designed quilts for charity.

The quilting program offers the men a temporary “escape from the prison world” and a chance to engage with the community, said Joe Satterfield, case manager at South Central. To join the group, an inmate cannot have any recent conduct violations on his record. The group, which relies entirely on donations, is working on an ambitious project: sewing personalized quilts for every foster child in Texas County.

The seven men in the program meet daily in the prison’s sewing room to design the quilts with individual children in mind, embroidering their first names on the corner. Once finished, each quilt is packaged with a handmade hat, along with school supplies and toiletries donated by other inmates at South Central. Knowing firsthand the feeling of being forgotten by society, the inmates who participate in the quilting circle strive to personalize each quilt for foster care kids to let them know someone cares; that they’re not “throwaways.”

Some joined the group after being recruited to sew face masks for prison inmates and staff during the pandemic. As part of this effort, Missouri inmates at prisons statewide volunteer in a variety of ways, including training shelter dogs and growing vegetables for food banks.
“You can see a change in their attitude,” said Satterfield, who runs the program. “A light flips on like, ‘Oh, this is a new avenue. I can actually be a part of something.’”

Based on the precept of “restorative justice” which stresses rehabilitation rather than punishment, according to the group’s coordinator, case manager Joe Satterfield, keeping the prisoners’ minds and hearts engaged while letting them feel like they’re making useful contributions to the community has been a game-changer, even for those who may spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

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