BC Corrections: Tailor Shop Program

BC Corrections: Tailor Shop Program


The BC Corrections tailor shop is a work
program in a maximum security jail at Surrey Pretrial that teaches men to sew
and develop and build skill and contribute back to the community. The
heart of the tailor shop program is the instructor, without the instructors
excitement ideas being generated, enthusiasm, and passion that shop never
would have come off the ground like it did when I started. The tailor shop
program at Surry pretrial is so huge, so important, and so rewarding for everybody. This one tailor shop in the province is in charge of taking care of all
correctional centres in BC. They make clothing, staff name-tags, window coverings, and everything is being taken care of by the inmate workers.This program is a
great example of innovation because it was driven by staff. A staff came up with
that idea and they saw that the men needed something to do. They saw that
there was a need within the organization that needed to be met. So for them to be
able to develop a relationship with staff and be treated like a normal
person and to be supported and mentor them to have their confidence built up
that’s very impactful. The instructor teaches the inmates in the tailor shop
work program to respect. Before they were even taught to sew, I taught them their
dynamics and the ergonomics of the machines and the love of the machines
and they care for the machines because without the machines we didn’t have
any works. I organize work every morning, maintain
the machines, organize workers, instruct when needed, help when needed. The
difference I’m making is giving back to the community and what it means to me is a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. So while producing goods and
services for the branch, we also went outside of the shop and contributed to
the community.Over the period of one year we donated over three thousand bags to Operation Christmas Child. All generated with scrap material. We donated to a Ministry of Child and Family Development, we donated bags for the
children to use to put their belongings in as they were being removed from their
home. A lot of my ideas in the shop and I was there were generated by inmates
creativity. This program supports the inmates to change their behaviour. In a way where they are allowed to be themselves And the types of products that they
produce, such as the blankets for the First Nations course, allows them to leave custody and get meaningful employment. The feedback the tailor shop is receiving on a daily basis, from the BC Corrections, from
external agencies, from charities, is huge and incredible and every single
professional skill is helping them, is helping, us is helping the community.

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