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Tuesday, October 07, 2008 —Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart joined jail and community leaders in delivering an 8x10 shed built by inmates to Kolbe House at Assumption Church, 2434 S. California Ave in Chicago.

The sheds are being built as part of a new vocation program at the Cook County Boot Camp. That program teaches carpentry skills to inmates, along with a classroom component to help them complete a union entrance exam upon their release. The program, which includes 16 inmates, began this year and is run in partnership with Chicagoland Prison Outreach Ministries. The program includes one day of labor and one day of class study each week.

All materials are paid for by the inmate welfare fund, meaning no tax dollars are used. This is the third shed built this year, with others used on the Boot Camp grounds and delivered to Misericordia.

“We are so pleased to provide yet another life-building skill to inmates, who will be able to take this carpentry knowledge, upon their release, and make a better life for themselves and their families,” Dart said. “On top of it all, we are able to provide much-needed sheds to deserving charities like Kolbe House.”
Kolbe House is a Catholic jail ministry program operated by the Rev. Arturo Perez-Rodriguez. Founded in 1983, it provides chaplains to work in the jail, while also reaching out to families impacted by incarceration.

The Cook County Boot Camp is a 240-bed complex that houses inmates for an intense 52-week program, including spending 18 weeks at the boot camp. Inmates must be 17 to 35 years old and convicted of a non-violent crime. These inmates would not normally be sent to a state prison, but would instead be held in the already-crowded Cook County Jail.


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