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Patuxent’s Female Offenders Give Back with Beautiful Quilts

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(November 16, 2012) - What started with an old quilt in need of repair has blossomed into 13 years of restorative justice from the women inmates at Patuxent Institution.

The Jessup prison, housing both men and women, is a treatment hub and a unique facility offering all kinds of programs for court-referred inmates.

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Thanks to volunteer quilters, the women inmates at Patuxent have made close to 900 beautiful quilts over the past 13 years. This week, they handed over 105 gorgeous quilts to the St. Ann’s Center in Hyattsville and the St. Vincent’s Center in Baltimore County.

“To me,” said one inmate named Susan, “quilting is a form of restorative justice. It offers me a chance to give back…” Said another inmate named Tracy: “Quilting…is doing something as a way of giving back.”

The tremendous effort began in 1999, when Dr. Erin Shaffer, Associate Director of Behavioral Sciences at Patuxent, took an old quilt to Inge Stocklin ---just as the future Circle of Friends quilter was trying to figure out how she could help others through quilting. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Department salutes the volunteer quilters from Circle of Friends who teach the inmates, and thanks the staff at Patuxent and the inmates for continuing this meaningful restorative justice program.