Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Education Based Incarceration (EBI) Unit located within Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF) offers various educational and vocational classes for the incarcerated. One of our most desired programs is the Fashion Design Class.
The class is supervised by L.A. County Custody Assistant Officer Gloria Welsh, who has been an employee at CRDF for many years. Between class times and normal jail operations, Officer Welsh keeps students busy with special projects using donated materials. Warner Brothers Studios has been a regular supporter and has kindly donated excess material from their costume design department. Jordan Manufacturing, located in Riverside, CA, also donates fabric which enables the class to construct and provide dog beds to LASD’s Canine Unit.
The students recently completed several kennel pads and beds for sheltered dogs and cats. Due to the hardworking and creative incarcerated participants, the EBI staff from CRDF was able to deliver multiple beds and kennel pads to two area shelters, SEAACA and LA County Department of Animal Care & Control, both located in Downey. The beds and kennel pads will be able to provide some comfort to the dogs and cats awaiting adoption.
The class course consists of four phases which are 8 weeks each. During the course of the class, students are able to develop their creative skills and are given instruction on clothing design and construction. At the end of each phase they receive a certificate of completion for their participation. The women also design their very own business outfits which they are able to have a family member pick up from the Five Keys Charter School Location. Once all four phases have been completed, the students will have gained in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry and garment construction to possibly pursue a career in the fashion industry upon release.
The fashion design vocational program not only teaches these women sewing skills, it also gives them the sense of comfort by being able to contribute to the community. Numerous inmates have expressed an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that helps boosts their self-esteem, something many of these women rarely experienced.
The Educational Based Incarceration Unit provides programs that assist all incarcerated men and women reach their full potential and creativity through education, empowerment, self-esteem and self-respect. By participating in our EBI programs, we have been told by the participants they have become better parents, productive citizens in their communities and in jail. Educating and providing life skills to the incarcerated population will enable them to enhance and develop their quality of life and become architects of their future by presenting opportunities for spiritual, educational, and economic transformation.