inmates learn new skills


I am a sucker for a story about “second chances.” This last week I had the opportunity to work on a short essay about Jefferson County inmates who are learning a new trade – outdoor water feature installation. Yeah, that’s what I said – outdoor water feature installation or fountains as they are known to you and me.

Under the supervision of Jeffco Sheriffs and Barry Fox, of Falls by Fox, inmates designed and built 2 water features. As part of the training, the inmates get a one for one time bonus on their sentences. For every successful day of labor they receive one day off of their sentence.


I have been in and out of various jails and detention facilities throughout my short career. Not for the reasons you think, but to document life inside. I have a problem with trust, that is I pretty much trust no one. I have had equipment stolen, my car broken into, threatened with physical injury and been lied to about pay for my work. Yet as I work on these stories, I never once thought about being attacked or having my cameras smashed or stolen. I find that if you want to be treated with respect you have to show your subject some respect regardless of what kind of a checkered past they might have.

You can read about the inmates and their work on the fountains in this week’s issue of the Columbine Courier.

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