Anytime you have prisoners working on something of obvious public benefit, beyond basic custodial work, it is a very good thing, as is this program reported by the Indianapolis Star.
“PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. -- Ronald Hayne works in silence alongside other prisoners, dusting a lime green bicycle frame with a worn rag.
“He doesn't know whom the mountain bike once belonged to, or who would ride it next. Maybe a child, like one of his sons. He thinks of them often as he works -- at ages 7 and 4, they share their dad's passion for bikes. He will be going home in December.
“But for now, Hayne works in the bike room at the Putnamville Correctional Facility, surrounded by wooden tables, piles of spare parts and an American flag that hangs in the corner.
“Roaring fans swirl the heavy air, already hot at 9 a.m.
“The 26-year-old and four other men were part of a recent work line for Shifting Gears, a partnership of Bicycle Garage Indy, Volunteers of America and the Indiana Department of Correction. The donated bikes are refurbished, then given to nonprofit organizations and distributed to people, young and old.
“The program was originally based at Pendleton Correctional Facility but was moved to Putnamville -- where wider staff oversight was available -- in the spring.
“Hayne was excited when he got word of the move. As a kid growing up in Terre Haute, he worked on freestyle bikes just like the one he cleaned in the bike room. There wasn't much to do in his hometown, he said, so he started his own bike repair shop at home and found a hobby.”