Submitted by Pamela Booker, Chief of Education, Prairie Region
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Marilyn Stone, Saskatchewan Penitentiary Librarian, along with volunteers from the community, wanted to find a way to help the staff and inmate population at Saskatchewan Penitentiary stay safe. They decided making masks was a contribution they could give in the fight against this virus. Marilyn was permitted to share two sewing machines with the Pathways unit and loaned a few more from the community, and she, along with six inmates from the minimum-unit, set up a non-medical mask sewing project. Volunteers contributed from their home. At the institution, Marilyn and the participating inmates followed physical distancing requirements on the assembly line and wore their own masks while working. The inmates learned how to cut material, add interfacing, stitch, and develop an assembly-line process. The inmates working on this special project also maintained their obligations to their regular institutional jobs. They were often heard making statements such as “We want to help keep people safe”, “We wish we could help more” and “We want to make a difference”.
Between April 22 and 24, 2020, inmates sewed five hundred masks! This project was one of pride for the men involved, for CSC, and valuable life skills were learned in the process.
Kudos to all involved!