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Woodworking program expanding at Pasco County Jail

Posted: 3:30 PM, Jan 14, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-14 17:24:46-05
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LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — When David Schmidt gets out of jail next month he’ll be able to do things he never could before.

“I’ve learned how to use a lot of the machines. A lot of it I didn’t know how to do," he said.

Schmidt is one of hundreds of inmates who have come through the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office woodworking shop in the last five years.

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They build chairs, tables, corn hole boards and flags — all from reclaimed wood.

Deputy Keith Stoecker runs the program and says it teaches these inmates work ethic.

“They are able to go out and find jobs to support their family and be a better part of the community," said Stoecker.

“Teaches us structure, a lot of people don’t have a job so they are actually learning stuff it helps us a lot," said Schmidt.

Everything is available for the public to buy. They even take custom orders.

“People are sending us pictures off Pinterest and so on and saying can you build this? Of course we can, you just have to give us more time," said Stoecker.

The program brings in more than $30,000 a year and the Sheriff’s Office says it’s covered by inmate funds.

When David finishes a project it brings him a sense of accomplishment that’s not easy to find behind bars.

“Makes me feel pretty good, like, I did that," said Schmidt.

The program is so successful officials say they are moving to a large building to meet the demand.

For more information on the program, visit https://pascosheriff.com/court-services-bureau.html.