Inside CDCR Video, Rehabilitation

Inside CDCR Video: Beading and crochet at Pelican Bay

Hands with large crochet hooks and yarn.
Inmates crochet at Pelican Bay State Prison as part of a rehabilitative program.


Video by Rob Stewart, Television Specialist, Office of Public and Employee Communications

Watch the YouTube video (link opens new tab and may not be accessible from a CDCR computer) or stream it below:

Meet the group creating intricate beadwork, crochet, and knitting projects for charity at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP).

Correctional Officer Jessica Valdez facilitates the program, in which students of all skill levels learn new skills. The program started in April 2019, and within just a few months had donated more than 300 items to the homeless and a convalescent hospital in the Crescent City area.

Students meet twice a week for the program, and then continue their work on their free time. Participants report that not only are they learning an enjoyable hobby, they are also contributing to the community in a positive way.

The program is in need of donations of yarn and beads. For information on how to donate supplies, please email elizabeth.schultz@cdcr.ca.gov.

Have you been enjoying the Inside CDCR videos? This project highlights the staff, volunteers, community partners, programs, and incarcerated men and women that make the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation exceptional. If you have a story we should cover, please email Kristina.Khokhobashvili@cdcr.ca.gov (link opens email).

TRANSCRIPT:

(Indistinct conversation)

Jessica Valdez

We started the program in April.

I actually had a couple inmates that know how to crochet and bead.

And they are the instructors.

And I just facilitate getting the donations and getting the material and what they need.

We’re still pretty small.

But we’ve donated about 325 items.

We donated to the homeless, we did a bunch of scarves and hats this winter.

And also we took some stuff down to the convalescent hospital.

We only meet twice a week for about and hour.

Then the rest of the time it’s on their free time.

I’ts just them sitting in there when they’re watching television or …

It keeps them occupied, it actually helps make the time go by quickly.

And it actually gives them a sense of self-worth.

Thailee Nguon

One of the things I love the most about this class is the helping each other.

To help the community, our mission is charity.

So knowing that what we make is going to somebody, and the feelings that we have while we’re making it is being passed on to the person who is getting it, maikes a huge difference.

It makes all the difference, really.

Jessica Valdez

We’re really in need of donations.

Pretty much we’re looking for anything we can get for crocheting and beading.

Yarn and beads, anything that is going to help continue to program.

I think that because the program is so great, and I know beneficial it will be in the long run and how great it could be, that it doesn’t matter about me being an officer, it just matters what difference we can make.