The Maine Department of Corrections believes in keeping their inmates busy. The State Prison Industries Program has been putting prisoners to work making furniture, crafts, clothing, etc. since 1824.
Some of the finest products are collected and sold at the Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston. From drinkware to dollhouses, and decorative pillows to lobster-themed cornhole boards, the public can purchase their own piece of prison craftwork at a reasonable price.
According to the shop's Facebook page, crafting does more than just stave off boredom, it gives the inmates a sense of pride - and a marketable skill should they be released.
At the inception of the Industries Program, Maine State Prison residents built horse-drawn sleighs and wagons. Later, they advanced to the sterotypical job of pressing license plates.
Today, the home goods and novelties churned out by the prison system are impressive enough to adorn the finest homes in Maine.
While some products are repetitive and formulaic, others show exceptional talent and creativity.
From paintings of tranquil woodland scenes...
To one-of-a-kind children's toys...
and of course, the massive sculpture “Neptune’s Ride,” which greets patrons as they enter the shop.
The Maine State Prison Showroom is an important reminder that prisoners are individuals, too and that we all need a creative outlet!
Products are available for sale to the public by visiting the Maine State Prison Showroom on Route 1 in Thomaston, Maine. The Showroom is open year round 7 days a week from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.