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Oddly Enough

Prisoners stitch up a better future

Monday, May 20, 2013 - 01:02

May 20 - Brazilian prison inmates take up knitting needles to help propel a local business to success. Tara Cleary reports.

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Tattooed and tough, these Brazilian prisoners are getting in touch with their softer side. Twenty inmates are knitting and crocheting for a local fashion design company. Launched in 2009, the project started when fashion designer Raquell Guimaraes needed to increase production for her line of knitwear. SOUNDBITE: Raquell Guimaraes, fashion designer, saying (Portuguese): "I got excited by the idea of going into a penitentiary and working with these people." The starting salary is around $250 U.S. dollars a month, which is 75 percent of Brazil's minimum wage... and increased production means more money. Inmates say the program also gives them skills and confidence - valuable for life on the outside. SOUNDBITE: Celio Tavares, former prisoner, saying (Spanish): "It raises the prisoners' self-esteem - not just me and my peers - and opens the door to work and employment." And for these prisoners, a stitch in time can save much more than nine - for every three days of knitting they do, they knock one day off their sentence.

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Prisoners stitch up a better future

Monday, May 20, 2013 - 01:02