Rocking their way to redemption, inmates make furniture for local charities


SPOKANE, Wash. -We all have a past, things we wish we could take back. Most of us aren't lucky enough to make amends like some inmates at the Airway Heights Corrections Facility.

Rocking a sweet baby into a deep, peaceful sleep. It's as close to heaven as it gets. But the comfort each rock provides at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery comes from a place as far away as many would say it gets.

"The gang life, shootings drugs, the way I was living, I was living too fast, said inmate Luis Verduzco Jr.

It was the early 2000's in Walla Walla. Luis Verduzco Jr. was just a teen back then. He says he knew he was on borrowed time, but he didn't care.

"All I knew when I was out there was gangs and selling drugs," he said. "It got me to here. It took 19 years of my life."

Making his three children the victim's hit the hardest.

"I just remember my kids, I wanted them to have what I didn't when I was growing up, I took the easy way out with drugs, getting money," he said. "In the long run, I wasn't helping them. I was hurting them. It took me away from them."

The best years of his life should have been captured through family photos of holidays or birthdays. Instead, it's DOC mug shots.

KHQ's Hayley Guenthner asked him what his biggest regret is. His response? "Not being with my kids."

And since he can't be with his, he finds peace in the possibility of providing comfort to yours.

Some of the inmate's most beloved pieces that come to the Airway Height's Correction Facility upholstery unit, find a new home and a new purpose, at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.

"I put my pride and joy into every piece of work I do because it's a piece of art as well," he said.

Luis has been in the training program for a few months now. He says he sees potential in what others find broken. He hopes our society will do the same with him.     

"I'm giving a second chance, which hopefully I get when I get out," he said.

Beauty in the art of transformation.

"It makes me proud, after all I've taken from my community, I'm finally giving back," he said.

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