Not a Debate Inmates crochete blankets for babies

Katherine - posted on 03/18/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )




Some babies born at Union Hospital are being swaddled in handmade blankets that come from an unlikely place — the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary.

On Monday, prison staff brought a large collection of items that had been crocheted by inmates — 71 hats, 25 blankets, five mittens, three scarves, two booties, a crocheted bear and sleeping dog.

The items were presented to the hospital's Maternal and Child Services Department. The 32 inmates who made the items participate in the prison Life Connections or Challenge programs.

Life Connections is faith-based, while the Challenge program focuses on mental health and addictions issues.

The inmates participated in an effort called "crocheting for a crusade," said Chaplain Scott Bonham, manager of the Life Connections program. Prison staff contacted Union and asked about possible community service projects for the inmates.

"Most of the inmates had never crocheted before. They had to learn," Bonham said.

The inmates, many of them serving life sentences, have been crocheting for the past several months.

"We're trying to institute a way for these men to give back to the community, a way for them to think of people beyond themselves," Bonham said. The goal is for the inmates "to think of people in the community they've never even met and show some compassion and care."

The prison program has had other community service projects, but this is the first time inmates have crocheted items for newborns.

Some inmates already knew how to crochet through the prison recreation department, and they taught the others. "Some of the men are spending 20 to 25 hours per blanket," he said.

An inmate who made five blankets said he couldn't wait to get out of prison to teach his daughter how to crochet, Bonham said.

All of the yarn was donated through the assistance of Sister Dorothy Rasche of Connecting Link in West Terre Haute.

The crocheted items will benefit newborn babies in the hospital's Maternal and Child Services Department, said Kim Perkins, Union's director of marketing and public relations.

And some of the larger hats will benefit patients in other departments, such as the Hux Cancer Center.

Joanne Goldbort, Union's director of maternal and child services, said the crocheted items "will be a benefit to our babies. We have families that don't have anything, so we can at least wrap our babies with warmth" before they go home.

Jennifer Harrah, nursing care manager/NICU nursery and pediatrics, said the crocheted items add a personal touch.

"I think it helps take away the hospital feel with the standard hospital blankets and hats. You get something handmade and it kind of can personalize a baby's bedside a little bit more," she said.

Bonham said inmates are proud of their efforts.

"This is the first of what we hope will be many deliveries," Bonham said.

In 2011, Union Hospital delivered 1,600 babies.


Information from: Tribune-Star,

I don't least they're doing something with themselves!


Merry - posted on 03/20/2012




Aww that's really nice. I love how there's programs trying to keep the inmates connected to the world and trying to help instill in them a sense of compassion for others.

I think the hard work of a criminal is just as special as the hard work of a grandma, but unlike a grandma these men did it for a strangers baby out of no obligation.

Vicki - posted on 03/19/2012




It's a great idea. Crochet can be a therapeutic activity. I assume it's not the most violent criminals Krista, otherwise they wouldn't have access to hooks, darning in needles and thread scissors. I wouldn't mind at all if it was my baby. Just because someone has committed a crime it doesn't mean they are devoid of feelings of charity and love. Many may be parents themselves and would have some understanding of what it is like to have a baby and nothing nice to dress/wrap them in. There's many reasons why people are incarcerated, not all of them are murderers and rapists. I myself have been convicted for taking part in an environmental action, I got community service and a fine but the charge I was convicted of had a possible prison sentence, so there was every chance I could have been locked up. (I had to work in an op shop with lovely elderly ladies every Saturday for a couple of months, it was awesome! I even did knitting and crochet while I was there!)

I'm sure they wash them before use so any globs of spit should be gone!


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Katherine - posted on 03/21/2012




LOVING all of the responses! Some of them are so true. At first I though, "What??" My closed minded thought. Then I thought, "Why not?" what a nice gesture to have all of these hand made baby articles for newborns.

Becky - posted on 03/20/2012




I think it's great. Particularly with inmates who would be getting released, I could see it being helpful in rehabilitation - developing empathy by having them engaged in a charitable activity, and teaching them a new skill. It wouldn't bother me to have my baby wrapped in a blanket made by an inmate.

Johnny - posted on 03/20/2012




I saw a similar program last night on a documentary. It is a program in Nevada for aging inmates that gets them out of general population and into more active seniors events. One of the things they offered was crocheting (I had the same thought about the needles) and they were donating the products to hospitals and homeless shelters. Some of these men will be released after extremely long sentences, we are talking about men who went into prison as 20-somethings and may be coming out in their 60's. It is so important to help them adapt, otherwise the likelihood of recidivism rises. This program that was featured last night had not had one released inmate re-offend out of 500. By far the best rate in the state. That made me warm fuzzy :)

[deleted account]

and as Vicki said, just because they've done wrong doesn't mean they're horrible people and that they can't make beautiful things worthy of newborns. pfffft...sorry, just got a bit irritated about that. and yes, you generally have to wash the pieces after you're done to set the stitches and bond it all together, basically. so no, these blankets and things are not going straight from the makers' hands to the babies. pfffftt....

[deleted account]

if you don't know how to crochet, it is pretty difficult to learn and it is certainly a time-consuming hobby. but it's wonderful to create new things out of something that seems so useless. i love crocheting. when i finish something and it turns out great, i feel so awesome, and i love being able to make things for other people to make them happy too. so i hope these inmates are experiencing the same thing.

[deleted account]

i love the idea! it's great that they are putting an effort into something to improve the lives of others!

Helen - posted on 03/19/2012




i think its a good idea some may be very grateful me however would not wish my child to wear anything from a criminal not just for reasons incase they spit on the wool ect just because a new born baby deserevea better than the work of a criminal my daughter was very poorly when first born an wore a bonnet made by my mother with love and care not some criminal

Stifler's - posted on 03/19/2012




Thats cute. Unless they spit on the wool. Or something. I wouldn't put it past people.

[deleted account]

Krista makes a very good point, but as long as no one kills each other... I think it's really cool.

Krista - posted on 03/18/2012




I think it's a lovely idea, although I'm a bit surprised at federal inmates having access to crochet hooks, seeing as they could easily be turned into a weapon...

Katherine - posted on 03/18/2012




Well I guess the debate is, is this right or wrong to have prisoners doing this? But it could be a warm fuzzy too ;)

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/18/2012




I personally think it is great! I want one! ;)

Jodi - posted on 03/18/2012




I could see some people have a problem with this I suppose. But I think it's a great thing. Having had babies in the NICU, that personal touch, amid all the wires and tubes and sterile may seem small, but it's huge, no matter where they came from!

Elfrieda - posted on 03/18/2012




Where's the debate? Or is this just a warm fuzzy type posting to go with this beautiful day?

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