AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

SCCC Inmate Class Expands Crocheting Skills

SCCC Crocheting

I’m an Education Coordinator at Spring Creek and a knitter who’s recently discovered a passion for knitting lace. Knitting at lunch was fun but time flew by and it was over much too fast. So what started as an enterprise in my own criminal thinking – how can I get away with knitting at work – turned into something entirely different – a daily crochet class for General Population prisoners and conversation about children, respect, food, family, music and more. And like broccoli hidden in the macaroni and cheese, crochet time is also a lesson in anger management and impulse control, in goal setting and delayed gratification, in cross cultural communication and social skills. It’s a quietly subversive time with amazing and wonderful results. Hats, scarves, booties and blankets are made and creative muscles flexed as prisoners adapt patterns to their own designs. Correctional Officers do double takes as they walk by the classroom. Everyone knows someone who knows how to crochet, especially in the prisoner population where so many learned how in juvenile detention. And me, the knitter who discovered lace? Now I’m a crocheter too, grateful for the time and space we’ve created and constantly surprised by what happens.

— Nonna Shtipelman, Educational Coordinator, Spring Creek Correctional Center