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Carpentry program gives inmates job skills and confidence for life after release

Mark Wood HBI graduation Medium.jpeg
Posted at 5:58 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 20:56:50-04

ONLEY SPRINGS, Colorado — Eleven inmates at CoreCivic's Crowley County Correctional Facility graduated from the prison's Home Builder's Institute Friday. The men received industry-recognized certificates proving they have all the necessary carpentry skills to begin a job building homes after their release.

The staff celebrated the achievement with a pizza party and graduation ceremony. Mark Wood said he learned about the program from the information channel on the TV.

"I told my case manager, hey I would like to join this program, and the next thing I know, out of the blue I just receive a kite saying hey you've got an interview for this program," Wood said.

He came into the program not knowing what to expect, and said the 12 weeks of training far exceeded his expectations.

"We learned everything from framing, carpentry, framing, to flooring, to doing roofing, installing the drywall," Wood said.

The amount of hands-on learning also surprised Michael Garrison, another graduate. Classes are limited to inmates with 18 months or less remaining on their sentences. They must not have disciplinary issues.

Garrison said the training brought him something to look forward to every day.

"Productivity, I think, is key to doing successful time. You've gotta be productive, you've got to be doing something, you've got to be busy and this is the perfect avenue for that," he said.

In addition to the certificates, the program also provides inmates with job placement services. Garrison and Wood both said they finished the training with a sense of confidence and purpose.

"It's something that gets you up in the morning it's something that keeps you going through the day," Garrison said. "It's a very motivational and a very exciting feeling that you get from this class."
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