CMC masonry teaches teamwork, precision

California Men’s Colony (CMC) incarcerated are learning a new trade at the institution: masonry. CMC Masonry Instructor Ron Shoffeitt says he’s passionate about his craft and relaying his knowledge to students.

Incarcerated masonry students learn much more than simply laying bricks on mortar. Students also learn how to communicate with each other while working as a team. Throughout the process, they are building self-confidence.  

Shoffeitt teaches students the importance of doing it right the first time. If a mistake is made, the mistake is permanent, visible for generations to see. Following instructions, reading blueprints, and paying attention to details are emphasized. As Shoffeitt points out, precision prevents irreversible construction errors.

Michael Odell, one of the masonry students, led the effort to build an outdoor pizza oven. He, along with other students, handled every aspect of construction.

This included digging the footers, pouring foundation, and building supports.

“I have been a masonry student since 2021. I am fortunate to have learned a valuable and applicable trade during my period of incarceration,” Odell said. “The skills I have learned in Shoffeitt’s class will enable me to find gainful employment when I am released from prison.”

Story by Lt. John Hill, AA/PIO
California Men’s Colony

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