DPSCS Media Advisory - Media Invited to Prison Sewing Operation for Flag Day
Media Invited to Maryland Correctional Institution for Women to see inmates sewing American and Maryland flags for use across the state Flag Day, June 14, at 11 a.m.

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Towson, MD (June 8, 2010) – Maryland’s prison inmates have sewn flags for almost 70 years. Their handiwork flies statewide from Fort McHenry to the State House and is often presented at military retirements and funerals.

About a dozen women inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup now work on the flag line. These women sew almost all the American and Maryland flags seen flying above public institutions across the state.

The women work for Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE), the Division of Correction’s prison industry arm. MCE runs more than 30 business units throughout Maryland’s correctional system that mirror private sector industries. Everything from sewing, to graphics, to furniture construction and meat processing – all of which are sold to government and non-profit entities in an effort to give offenders real-life job experience behind the fence.

Through constructive employment of more than 2,000 offenders, MCE is one of the premiere rehabilitative entities in the state. Studies have shown that offenders with at least one year of work experience at MCE are 60% less likely to recidivate following release when compared to general population offenders.

In observance of Flag Day on June 14, members of the media are invited to visit MCI-W, 7943 Brock Bridge Road, at 11 a.m. and see the flag line at work. Some of the women inmates responsible for sewing the flags will be available for interviews. MCE staff, including Plant Manager Orville Dunnock, will also be on hand.

What: Flag-Making at Maryland Correctional Institution For Women
Where: MCIW: 7943 Brock Bridge Road in Jessup
When: Monday, June 14, Flag Day, at 11 a.m.
Contact: Erin Julius (DOC) 410 585-3320 or Danielle Lueking (DPSCS) 410 339-5011 Members of the media should R.S.V.P. The flag-making is inside the prison; contraband, cell phones, tobacco products, pagers, etc. are not permitted.

Maryland Correctional Enterprises Flag-Making Facts

  • Centralized Prison Industry in Maryland began producing flags almost 70 years ago.
  • The smallest flag produced measured 12" x 18".
  • The flag line consists of 12-14 inmate workers.
  • Inmates currently produce U-S, Maryland and DPSCS flags as well as small pennants for various state agencies.
  • Start to finish, it can take one worker one day to complete a U-S flag but two weeks for a Maryland State flag.
  • The flag line can produce 50-75 flags a month depending on size– approximately 700 per year.
  • Although it is helpful, workers on the flag line are not required to have any previous sewing experience. They are trained “on the job”.
  • In FY09 MCE sold close to 800 flags. Revenues from flag sales alone hit $35,000 last year.