Inmates participating in craft fair get some help refining their skills

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – From crosses to dining sets and even jewelry, there will be a little bit of everything at the sixth-annual Inmate Craftsmanship and Trades Fair at the State Pen in Santa Fe, Saturday.

“This craft fair is for all the inmates that have built their stuff that they do in their hobby crafts stuff,” former inmate Jeremy Eby said.

For Eby, this fair is one to remember.

“I’ve been out for about a month and I’m here working,” he said.

Eby served 13 years behind bars after being convicted of murder. Police say the victim was stabbed multiple times, then thrown onto railroad tracks in 2004.

Since his release last month, Eby’s working to move forward from his criminal past.

“There’s a stigma with being in there. There’s a lot of good guys in there, you know what I mean? They just had a bad trip,” Eby said.

Not only has Eby changed his life by improving his craftsmanship, but he has taken up the role of helping other inmates refine their skills.

“I show them how to build. I do the drawings, they cut and build from there,” Eby explained.

Eby is the custom furniture coordinator, and he feels a sense of pride seeing other inmates apply what they have learned. On top of that, he says it’s a big deal to see the inmates come full circle.

“Some come in with a little bit of skill. Some come in with no skill. We take them and try to teach them something that they can be productive when they get out,” Eby said.

When they get out, Eby is sure this program will help lead them in the right direction.

“They don’t return to the life of crime and they have a chance to make it in the world,” he said.

The craft fair is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. A portion of the proceeds go to the inmates’ families, victims of crimes and other inmate programs.

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