Inmates' Work Helps Hunters

By: Justin Ware Email
By: Justin Ware Email

The details, are what make this canoe so special.

"We got to sand between every coat," said one of the wood workers.

From the handcrafted labor, to local materials.

"What we did, we built it out of cedar shingles, that's what it's made out of."

To the fact that inmates are the carpenters.

"It's been a great project," said Patrick Salmons, New Lisbon correctional institution inmate. "It's the first one I've really enjoyed doing since I've been locked up."

This handmade cedar canoe is the first of its kind.

Number one in a program that uses wood donated by Pheasants Forever, to build canoes that will be raffled off for charity, that are built using only inmate labor here at the New Lisbon Correctional Institution.

"You aint gonna find this in just any prison," Salmons. "This is the first prison I've seen where they really let you get hands on like this. I really enjoy it."

Salmons and James Parson are two of the inmates who built the canoe.
They both have great things to say about the program .. and so do prison officials at New Lisbon.

Allyn Klusendorf has been supervising the project, and says it's all part of the prison system focusing on "rehab" not just punishment.

Both Salmons and Parson will be eligible for parole in the next three years and experience in handcrafting a canoe goes a lot farther in the workforce, than stamping license plates.

"We're trying to show them a trade, teach them a skill," said Klusendorf. "There's other parts in the wood shop that they can use on the outside when they do get paroled."

Klusendorf is hoping other correctional facilities in the prison system catch on and start programs just like this one.

For one, because of the valuable skills it gives to inmates.

But also because of how much fun they have, building these canoes.

"They love the program," said Klusendorf. "That's pride you're seeing."

Pride, and the realization that they have something to look forward to, when they have a wood shop of their own someday.

"The wife and I always wanted to go out and buy a canoe," said Parson. "Well, I guess I'm going to be building one."

The canoe will be heading to Gander Mountain in Baraboo sometime in the next couple of weeks.

To take it home yourself, you buy raffle tickets there and at a number of other locations in Baraboo and Sauk City including Fairway Mortgage in Baraboo, Wilderness Fish and Game in Sauk City and Boo Canoe and Raft in Baraboo.

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