T-shirt business is more than just a job for Kane County jail inmates

  • Inmate Marcos Hernandez of Carpentersville aligns his detailed design on a T-shirt in a press at the Kane County jail.

      Inmate Marcos Hernandez of Carpentersville aligns his detailed design on a T-shirt in a press at the Kane County jail. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County jail detainee Orlando Riley of Elgin peels the backing off a design that he will press onto a T-shirt sold by KaneCoInmatesDesigns.

      Kane County jail detainee Orlando Riley of Elgin peels the backing off a design that he will press onto a T-shirt sold by KaneCoInmatesDesigns. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County jail detainee Marcos Hernandez of Carpentersville holds his T-shirt design as John Lundy of Aurora sets a T-shirt in a press and Orlando Riley peels the backing off other artwork.

      Kane County jail detainee Marcos Hernandez of Carpentersville holds his T-shirt design as John Lundy of Aurora sets a T-shirt in a press and Orlando Riley peels the backing off other artwork. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County jail detainees design and produce T-shirts that they sell on Etsy. Each T-shirt is stamped with a small icon on the back, and the main art is placed on the front.

      Kane County jail detainees design and produce T-shirts that they sell on Etsy. Each T-shirt is stamped with a small icon on the back, and the main art is placed on the front. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County jail detainee Marcos Hernandez of Carpentersville shows the icon design on the back of a T-shirt. Inmates have designed and are producing T-shirts that they sell on Etsy.

      Kane County jail detainee Marcos Hernandez of Carpentersville shows the icon design on the back of a T-shirt. Inmates have designed and are producing T-shirts that they sell on Etsy. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 12/13/2019 8:22 AM

Just in time for your holiday shopping, Kane County jail detainees are stocking an online shop with T-shirts they've created behind bars bearing inspirational messages and unique designs.

The detainees' business, called KaneCoInmatesDesigns, sells the shirts for $29.95 apiece on Etsy, an online marketplace where people can buy and sell handmade products, vintage items and craft supplies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The shirts -- some of which bear sayings like "Do Better!" and "The Journey to Freedom Starts Now!" -- are made in a jail unit housing men trying to overcome drug and alcohol addictions. Participants are in jail either awaiting trial or serving a sentence of less than a year.

The program is overseen by corrections officer Lt. Pete Osmanli.

"This gets them going and participating in something," he said. "It's amazing how talented a lot of them are."

Kane County jail detainee Orlando Riley of Elgin sets a T-shirt into a press to transfer his design. Inmates design and make the T-shirts, then sell them online as part of a jail program that aims to curb recidivism.
  Kane County jail detainee Orlando Riley of Elgin sets a T-shirt into a press to transfer his design. Inmates design and make the T-shirts, then sell them online as part of a jail program that aims to curb recidivism. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

The inmates make the designs, including a program logo, and print, package and ship the T-shirts.

Money earned from the sales goes to the jail's canteen commission account, which pays for items such as the jail's cable-television subscription, pizza parties that recognize detainees' positive achievements, and other discretionary items.

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It's all part of an effort Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain started when he took office last year to reduce recidivism. He's also offered forklift-operator training, painting and drawing classes, job fairs, yoga and meditation classes, and employment referrals to men and women in the county jail.

Osmanli, a 19-year veteran of the corrections department, applauds the change in approach. The programs show inmates that "this (jail) is just a little bump in the road," he said.

"We'll work with you," Osmanli added.

To check out some of the detainees' handiwork, visit etsy.com/shop/KaneCoInmatesDesigns.

Caroling cops in Bartlett

The last time we saw the men and women of the Bartlett Police Department in song, they were lip-syncing their way through the Guns N' Roses classic "Sweet Child o' Mine" as it was performed in the movie "Stepbrothers" for their entry in 2018's Police Lip Sync Challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Now they've turned their attention to the holiday season. In a video posted on the village's Facebook page Monday, members of the department do a carpool karaoke version of "All I Want For Christmas Is You."

Guest stars include members of the Bartlett Fire Protection District, Bartlett High School musicians, and the 501st Legion Midwest Garrison "Star Wars" re-enactors community.

A hairy situation

If you thought the Aurora Police Department -- at least its male officers -- looked extra-hirsute in November, you were right.

Many of the officers participated in the department's "No-Shave November" contest, raising money for the Lustgarden Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Participating officers paid $50 for the privilege of sporting beards and mustaches.

The department raised $9,081 this year in honor of the late Sgt. Dan Corp, who died of cancer in 2016. Chief Kristen Ziman bestowed awards in various categories, including "best try" and "best ginger," in a ceremony you can see on the department's Facebook page.

Demitri Green-Hosey
Demitri Green-Hosey
Cruel and unusual?

Rejecting claims that it amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment," a state appeals court has upheld the 105-year prison sentence a Kane County judge handed down to a killer who was just 18 when he committed his crime.

Demitri Green-Hosey received the de facto life term for the execution-style killing of 20-year-old Arin Williams of Aurora during a January 2014 drug deal at a Mexican restaurant on the city's near-west side.

Authorities say that instead of forking over $300 for an ounce of marijuana as was planned, Green-Hosey put a gun against the back of Williams' head and shot him dead.

When he sentenced Green-Hosey to more than a century in prison, Kane County Judge D.J. Tegeler said he was most concerned about the convicted killer's lack of respect for others.

"When you lose respect for everyone else's feelings but yourself, you no longer deserve the right to walk in free society because that is a thought process that might never change," Tegeler said.

The appellate court ruled unanimously that Tegeler did not abuse his judicial discretion in handing down the long sentence.

Green-Hosey, now 24, won't be eligible for parole until 2112, according to state prison records.

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