Alt News August 14, 2013
This Maximum Security Prison Keeps Inmates Busy With Knitting

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Two inmates at Arisvaldo de Campos Pires knitting (Photo: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker)

Inmates at maximum security prison Arisvaldo de Campos Pires in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have a unique way of reducing their sentence: they can knit their way out.

Since 2009, inmates have had the option to participate in a program called the Lotus Flower project, in which they knit high-end clothing in exchange for a small salary and reduced sentences.

prison-knitting-group.gifThe program was created by Brazilian fashion designer Raquell Guimaraes, Quartz reports.

When she realized she needed help producing enough knitted clothing for her Doiselles brand, she approached the prison authorities with a proposal: train female prisoners to produce clothing.

Here's how the program works: for every three days he spends knitting, an inmate gets one day off his sentence.

Prisoners are paid a salary equivalent to 75 per cent of minimum wage, one quarter of which is held and paid to them upon release.

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Guimaraes and an inmate inspect knitwork in a workshop inside the prison (Photo: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker)

Apparently the experiment is working out well for Guimaraes and her company: the clothing has made its way into 70 stores across Brazil, as well as others in the U.S., France, and Japan.

Eighteen prisoners are currently helping Guimaraes produce clothing.

Via Quartz

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