Forget stamping out license plates. Inmates at the Southern Desert Correctional Facility north of Las Vegas are part of a program that employs inmates to restore classic cars. They have two mottos: “We have the time to do it right”, and “Built with conviction”.
Obviously, they also have a sense of humor.
Michael Fuller has watched some hard cases come into the SDCF for years, then leave practically reborn. He’s talking about cars—very cool vintage cars. They come in rough and battered, and inmates restore them to their original glory. “We’ve got a ’56 Jaguar, a ’48 Rolls Royce, and a Studebaker pickup,” said Mr. Fuller.
Over 30 medium-security inmates at the prison’s auto shop work on classic cars like these every weekday. These inmates restore vehicles for Silver State Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nevada’s Department of Corrections.
Some of the others collectible cars they’ve renovated include two 1960s-era Corvettes, two 1960 Mustangs, a 1959 Thunderbird, a 1965 Malibu, a 1935 Chevy pickup and two 1969 GTOs.
All kinds of customers bring their cars in for restoration. One happy customer, Las Vegas realtor Barry Becker, has had nearly a dozen cars restored by prisoners. Among his prison-rescued treasures are a 1937 Dodge sedan convertible, a 1937 Dodge “Woody” wagon, a 1956 Nash Metropolitan and a 1941 Plymouth pickup truck.
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