GOLDEN, Colorado -- For those locked up in the Jefferson County Jail, the idea of comfort may not come to mind. But, inmates are spinning comfort out of thread.
"This is kinda passing time," an inmate said.
JeffCo Sheriff Jeff Shrader and his jail administrator launched a new program to have inmates turn old uniforms and blankets into beds for pets.
"Using product that would otherwise go to the landfill," Shrader said.
Now, inmates work on designing and sewing together these beds for the Foothills Animal Shelter. The sheriff and his deputies delivered 70 handmade pet beds to Foothills this week.
"We could do good by the animals in the community," Shrader said.
Christi Norfleet is the director of development and community engagement for Foothills Animal Shelter. She says the beds are a welcome and needed gift.
"We give clean bedding to all of the animals in our care every single day. So, there's never a shortage of need of blankets, beds, towels," Norfleet said.
Norfleet says providing soft, durable beds for dogs and cats can make their stay at Foothills much better.
"If we can provide a little extra comfort, something soft and warm to lay on, it makes the floor a lot more comfortable for them," Norfleet said.
But, while the animals can feel the benefit, Shrader says the inmates get something out of it, too.
"It's healthy when people who are in jail are productive during the course of the day," Shrader said.
They can be productive while learning work skills, Shrader says. He believes this can lead to a smoother transition back to a normal, law-abiding life for inmates when they eventually get out.
"As many of us know, building a little bit of confidence can go a long way," Shrader said.
An inmate sewing these beds together says he enjoys working to help the shelter.
"Everybody's gotta be happy in their life somewhere," he said. "And, this is my way of giving back to what I took."
The sheriff says the jail can produce up to 10 beds a day. He says this program will continue indefinitely as he views it as a win, win, win.
"To make things a little bit more comfortable until that animal finds their forever home," Shrader said. "To engage in activity to break up the boredom of what jail can often represent."
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