This is the type of program that should be happening in every community. This is a program that teaches real world skills and helps real world people.
RIFLE, Colorado — Julio Ramirez has some experience in construction, and he’s using those skills to help build the first Habitat for Humanity home in Rifle.
He spends all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays working on the home with a crew of about seven other men before he goes home.
But home for Ramirez, and the rest of his crew, is the Rifle Correctional Center — at least for the time being.
“I do a little bit of everything — whatever needs to be done — siding, cement work, framing...,” Ramirez said. “I look forward to it. I like doing the work, and it’s for a good cause — it’s a home for two families.”
The community labor program is a win-win situation for both the community and the inmates themselves, according to Dave Scherbarth, associate warden at RCC.
“First and foremost, we are here to protect the public,” Scherbarth said. “But we believe we can have inmates in the community safely.”
No sex offenders are allowed at the RCC facility.
RCC is a 192-bed minimum security prison located eight miles north of the city of Rifle and part of the state Department of Corrections system. Along with community labor, it also offers inmates secondary education, vocational training and a reintegration program to successfully reintroduce inmates back into society upon their release. The prison is also home to a certified firefighting crew, which has responded to wildfires all over the state.
Glenwood Springs Independent