Nov 30th 2010 By Laura Leu
In the hierarchy of thoughtful Christmas presents
, handmade gifts always outrank the generic mass-produced ones.
So, this year, instead of getting your mom that Coach bag she's been hinting at, why not give her a one-of-a-kind license plate-purse
handcrafted by a serial rapist?
That purse and other criminal-created goods are available at the Arizona Department of Corrections Prison Outlet Store
, where felons sell crafts they make by (shackled) hand.
The inmates work mostly with scrap metal and wood to create unique items, like jewelry boxes, camp fire rings, lawn ornaments and key rings.
And, sure, handing over an anvil and sledgehammer to someone who's in the clink for bludgeoning their entire family sounds like a bad idea, but, according to Rick Kahn, vice president and sales manager of Arizona Correctional Industries, all the prisoners
in the workshop are "well-monitored, well-screened and well-managed."
The finished products are put up for sale in the Outlet Store in Florence, Ariz. -- sorry, no out-of-state sales -- and proceeds are divided between the inmate and a victims' rights group. The program also helps save the state millions of dollars because the rate in which participating felons return to prison drops 30 percent.
"Those inmates gain marketable job skills they can use in the real world," Kahn tells Asylum. "And they leave here with an understanding of the workforce because we treat them like co-workers." Keep reading to check out the Prison Outlet's inventory.
License plate purses, $35–$60:
Campfire ring (with customizable plasma-cut graphics), $75 and up:
Napkin holders, $15:
Jewelry boxes, $25:
Key rings, $7.50:
Metal quails (family of four), $15: