Inmates Take on a New Trade

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For inmates in North Carolina, welding is not just another skill to learn in your free time.  For them, it’s sink or swim.  Skills like welding, plumbing, and carpentry are being taught to the inmates at the Cleveland County Correctional Center in hopes of making their transition back into everyday life a lot smoother.  However, looming budget cuts may soon close down the program, and eventually, the center as well.

For the story from NC News Channel 14, GO HERE->

Program to teach inmates in budget jeopardy

Updated 07/30/2009 06:23 PM
By: Kate Gaier

SHELBY, N.C. – The Cleveland County Correctional Center in Shelby said inmates are lining up for a program that helps them transition back into society.

It aims to teach the inmates a trade so they don’t go right back into a life of crime. But state budget cuts are threatening to shut down that program and the entire correctional facility.

“These guys are going to be released back into our community,” Ryan Bralley, correctional case manager, said. “So we need to give them something to fall back on.”

The Cleveland County Correctional Center is set to close on December first if the budget passes in its current form.

David Page, who learned welding in the program, was 20 years old when convicted of second-degree murder in 1997. When he’s released in 29 months, Page hopes to put that skill to work instead of becoming a repeat offender.

“Other than this welding school, this trade that I just completed, I really wouldn’t have anything to fall back on,” Page said. “It’s given me hope that I can do good and live right when I get back out there.”

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