Inmates complete program in traditional carving - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Inmates complete program in traditional carving

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It's a story we brought to you earlier this year and it generated plenty of positive response from you in the community ready to place your orders. In a ceremony earlier this week, three inmates at the Department of Corrections received their certificates of completion in an "Art of Carving and Furniture Making Class."  

The program was made possible through the Council of Arts and Humanities who are also celebrating Arts and Humanities Month.

Master Carver Robert Taitano said, "I'm happy to teach anybody that wants to learn." He is passing his craft to the underserved; those like Macky Demei, an inmate at the Department of Corrections. "I show them what i can do. If they learn what i do, they can make money when they get out," he shared.

Macky and his two classmates made these ifit masterpieces. Macky already had a background in carving, as he said, "For me, it's something that runs in the family. My grandfather did it. My father helped. Mr. Taitano start up his shop. And I guess I'm like the third generation carver."

This work of art took him six hours, as Macky explained, "I chose flowers because it represents the island's beauty, and then I chose the shape of the latte stone because it represents strength. So it kind of looks rugged from a far view, but when you get closer you can see the beauty of it."

When KUAM News asked what it means to be able to do carving while he's in jail, he replied simply, "It's good...it helps me clear my mind."

This is just one of the many rehabilitation programs at the prison. DepCor Director Tony Lamorena said, "Our job at DOC is not necessarily just to incarcerate, but it is also equally our responsibility to rehabilitate. So by having this program, this is just the beginning."

The program was made possible through a CAHA grant. These products can be sold and the profits to be used to pay down a prisoner's debt, like child support and restitution. Lamorena said, "While they're here they can pay their debt to society."

Macky has been in jail for the past year, but looks forward to his release in a few months. "So you're going to go work for Mr. Taitano now," we asked Macky, to which he enthusiastically replied with a smile, "Oh, yeah."

Many of you have asked about where you can buy these pieces.

Unfortunately, they're not for sale just yet as DOC and CAHA want to display them in an exhibit first.

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