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‘Still stitching away’: Hutchinson Correctional Facility inmates make more than 80,000 masks

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Inmates at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility and Topeka Correctional Facility are busy making masks for Kansans.

Both facilities have been making masks and gowns since the start of the pandemic. The Hutchinson Correctional Facility has sewn more than 80,000 masks and gowns since the beginning of April.

The inmates were working 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to meet the high demand for protective equipment. They’ve supplied masks to the Department of Corrections, state employees, and local sheriffs departments.

“If it hadn’t of been for inmates volunteering to do this work this wouldn’t have happened and take into account that the guys worked Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, I think that speaks volumes for staff, the facilities, and the inmates,” said Hutchinson Correctional Facility Manufacturing Manager, Marty Mora.

Although the inmates have been busy sewing thousands of masks each week, they said this opportunity has given them much more than a finished product.

“It made me feel like I was able to help, like I had a purpose because making these masks, people need masks and it made me feel like I was a part of something and this doesn’t happen often,” said Hutchinson Correctional Facility Resident, Darren Young.

Joseph Fagan, another resident at the facility who has been volunteering since April, said he’s just glad that he and his fellow inmates are being given a chance to lend a helping hand.

“Even though we’re incarcerated, you know what I mean, we are still trying to help, and we’re still good people and that we’re trying to make the best out of these hard times and save lives really,” said Fagan.

More said the inmates are now sewing masks for the Kansas division of Emergency Management, working to help them build up a stockpile. He said because of the rise in COVID-19 cases the inmates will continue sewing for the next 6 months to a year.

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