Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here is an email I'd like to share....

Our goal was always to assist others in building their win Knitting Behind Bars program.  We have spoken to many who would like to start such a project and have heard of some very early pans for such a program in two Md prisons.  After the article we got hundreds of calls and emails.  Many from the UK and one from  Folsom Prison  in California. 

It would be overly optimistic to imagine an improvement in the whole facility, but we have heard from   Chippendale, the assistant warden of the entire pre release system that she is aware of a marked increase in the good behavior of our participants.  Over 150 men have attended our program and any ave told us that this has been life altering.  Several men with whom we continue to follow on the outside, confirm these benefits.

After all, the program is not really about the craft of knitting, but the benefits it brings.  Goal orientation, pride in one's work, anger management, crossing perceived gender stereo types are just a few of these benefits.

Being in prison is like pushing a pause button.  Nothing happens.  There are only a few programs geared to rehabilitation and success is usually a huge personal motivation.  Any incarcerated person would benefit from having a weekly opportunity to learn a new skill and interact with people in the community.

Good luck on your paper, Heather.  My behind the walls knitters and I would love to see what you write.

My best,

Sent from my iPad

On Apr 12, 2012, at 1:12 PM, Heather Gambrel wrote:


 I'm writing a research paper for my composition class on Knitting Behind Bars. I was just wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your program. First of all, have any other prisons adopted the program, or have plans to do so? Have you noticed a noticeable improvement in the overall atmosphere of the prison? Do you think that this program would only be appropriate for a certain type of prison, such as a minimum security prison, or would it also be beneficial to prisoners in maximum security prisons? Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I think the program sounds really fun and exciting, and I'm having a blast writing a paper on such a neat success story. =)

Thanks again!

Heather Gambrel


  1. I saw a video clip about Knitting Behind Bars on Pinterest, and I was interested in donating some of my yarn for the program. Is this something that you would be willing to do?



  2. Hi,

    Ever since I visited Alcatraz recently and saw the crochet stuff in one of the cells, I've wanted to do something like this myself in my area (Cambs, UK). But I don't know where to start! Do you have any tips? Particularly how do you source all the equipment and yarn for the programme, and how do you convince people it is a good idea?! I am a devoted knitter and it changed me, and I want to spread the yarny love!

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