The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 31, 2013

LaECI inmates construct sheds for county Habitat

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Three full-sized, outdoor storage sheds built by inmates at Lake Erie Correctional Institution were donated to the Ashtabula County Habitat for Humanity during a presentation Tuesday morning.

Along with the sheds, the prison provided Habitat with three new washers and dryers, officials said.

The sheds were assembled by inmates in the rehabilitative building maintenance program. Along with the appliances, the sheds will benefit families in Ashtabula, Conneaut and Orwell, officials said.

“Projects like this can aid in the rehabilitative process,” State Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson, who attended the presentation and spoke to inmates, said in a statement. “It’s my hope these inmates will remember the lesson of giving to others and have their lives transformed so they can become productive members of society. If this helps jump start their lives, and they have an epiphany, a transformational moment, that’s what we’re here for and that’s what we want to do.”

Prison administrators said they were happy to assist.

We know these structures and these washers and dryers will be put to good use by some very deserving families,” LaECI Warden Brigham Sloan said in a statement. “We thank Rep. Patterson for bringing us together with Habitat for Humanity and we intend to maintain a long-lasting and strong relationship with this great, community-focused organization.”

Jeffrey Scribben, Habitat board president and director of Community Action’s housing services division, was grateful for the gifts.

“This is definitely going to benefit the community,” he said in a statement. “Owning a washer and dryer is an expense that most people we deal with can’t even think about affording.”

The appliances, still in their boxes, became expendable when the prison opted to contract for its laundry service, officials said.

Staff and inmates plan to build two more sheds for Habitat and also assist in the organization’s next home project in Ashtabula County.

“I greatly appreciate what the Lake Erie staff and inmates have done with their talents,” Scribben said. “Hopefully we can continue to utilize this facility to help more needy people in our community in the very near future.”

LaECI is owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America.