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Rags prove to be a lifeline

Thursday, 24th March, 2011

RAGS TO RICHES: Prisoners Tammy Jones and Vanessa Apoleski (front) with jail staff Brad Pebbles and Michael Stanley, and Lifeline manager Richard Lines RAGS TO RICHES: Prisoners Tammy Jones and Vanessa Apoleski (front) with jail staff Brad Pebbles and Michael Stanley, and Lifeline manager Richard Lines

By Kurtis Eichler

Women at the local prison are turning rags into cash for Lifeline.

The inmates are slicing up donated clothes which are sold as rags to the mines and various businesses. The money raised goes back to the counselling service.

Manager of Offenders Services and Programs, Michael Stanley, said it was the prisoners' way of giving back to Lifeline which conducts anti-gambling, anger management and attention defecit disorder sessions at the jail.

He said the project was on a three-month trial.

"We can see it continuing in its present form," Mr Stanley said. "It's a pretty unique scheme."

Lifeline's local manager, Richard Lines, said the idea to employ the inmates had occurred to him out of the blue."

"We couldn't keep up with demand, and I just thought one day, 'what about the jail people?'"

He said the old clothes were sorted into fabric types, and clients like Perilya would ask for one particular type of material.

Prisoner, Vanessa Apoleski, said the project keeps her occupied.

"It passes the time, keeps us busy. It's us giving back to the community," she said.

"And it puts more structure in your day."

Ms Apoleski averages 20 bags' worth of rags a day, which is almost half a tonne per week.

"We're just happy working until we finish," she said.

Manager of Security, Brad Peebles, said close to 12 inmates were doing the cutting job.

"We pay them to do it," Mr Peebles said. "We just provide the labour free to Lifeline."

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