Maine Prisons Train Fine Furniture Making to Inmates

By Bill Esler | Posted: 06/16/2013 3:00AM

 

WARREN, ME - Furniture maker Brian Reid has launched a fine woodworking training program for inmates of Maine's state prison system. Reid, who operates professional fine furniture training programs at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME - where he is Senior Fellow - began voluntarily organizing a community outreach program last year to teach fine furniture making in the Maine State Prison Industries Program.

Like the Federal Unicor prison industries, Maine State Prison Industries trains and employs inmates in several businness segments, including woodworking, upholstering and logging and lumber production. Goods are sold to to state agencies and other buyers, generating about $1.5  million in revenue annually.

Maine Prison Wood-related Workshops

Woodshop--MSP, MCC, CCF

Re-upholstery--MCC

Wood Harvesting--CCF

Upholstery--MSP

Engraving--MSP

Charleston Correctional Facility 1202 Dover Road Charleston, ME 04422 (207)285-0800

Maine Correctional Center 17 Mallison Falls Road Windham, ME 04062 (207)893-7000

Maine State Prison 807 Cushing Road Warren, ME 04864 (207)273-5300

Reid's Maine Prison Outreach Program for fine furniture making began in August 2012, in Warren, ME, modeled after a similar program run by the New Hampshire Furntiture Masters Association. Teaching with Reid are furniture craftsman Dylan Fuller, Howard Hatch, and Jeremy S. Gallant, each donating 10 hours a week to the program. Some of the prisoners' wares will be placed on sale this summer.

The Maine Department of Corrections operates Industries Programs in five of is adult facilities, with three producing wood products. "Keeping as many prisoners busy as possible" is a major goal, says the prison agency.

The Prison Industries Upholstery Shop in is the home of the state’s only Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP), a federally certified program which allows prisoners to work for private enterprise, and grants an exemption from federal restrictions on prisoner-made goods in interstate commerce.

The state says the program lets prisoners earn money which goes toward reimbursing the state for their room and board, as well as paying victim restitution and child support.

The Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston, ME is the largest retailer of prison-made goods in the state. goods with over 600 crafted products. There are also over 60 private vendors approved to resell prison-made goods in the State of Maine.

 

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About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at WoodworkingNetwork.com Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at besler@woodworkingnetwork.com or follow him on Google+.

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