EAS Carpenters Start Progam to Rebuild Puerto Rico, Train Low-Risk Inmates

January 17, 2020

The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters has been involved in the rebuilding of the United States Territory of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria ravaged the country in 2017. The hard work has lead to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America tasking the EASRCC with the organizing of Puerto Rico under the union. This is a great honor and our members got right to work to see how they can best train the workers of Puerto Rico and work with local leaders. A partnership between the Puerto Rico Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DCR) created a great opportunity to help the rebuilding process, teach a trade to low-risk inmates looking to better their lives, and promote the type of work the EASRCC is looking to bring to Puerto Rico. 

You can read a story by the Primera Hora Daily Newspaper

Or read a translated version below. 

Inmates to build homes for low-income residents

The training is part of a collaboration between the Puerto Rico Department of Correction and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America

Primera Hora Daily Newspaper

San Juan Puerto Rico

December 13, 2019

In view of the need for workers to rebuild Puerto Rico after the devastating impact of hurricane Maria, the Puerto Rico Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DCR) opened its doors to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America, to collaborate in the effort to train members of the correctional population to build homes for people with limited resources.

“There are still homeless people in Puerto Rico, after losing their homes as a result of the hurricane. Therefore, through FEMA and not-for-profit organization Heart 9/11, we established a collaboration with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America. This trade union helped us to create an innovative project that teaches carpentry to inmates at the Sabana Hoyos Correctional Facility in Arecibo, who have a year or less remaining to complete their sentence and re-enter the free community. The main objective is to train inmates in a trade that will assist them in their rehabilitation process, and will place them in a better position in their upcoming reintegration into the free community,” said in a written statement Eduardo J. Rivera Juanatey, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Correction.

He said that the initiative, which is being implemented for the first time in Puerto Rico, will facilitate 19 inmates to return to the free community with a certification and even with the necessary equipment to begin work in the construction field.

“In this way, they not only reinforce their rehabilitation process, but also contribute to the rebuilding of homes for those affected by Hurricane Maria, and any other individual who might have the need for a home,” added the executive.

Rivera Juanatey also explained that this initiative joins others that the PR Department of Correction has implemented as part of the “Prisión Escuela” (School-in-prison) project at the Sabana Hoyos Correctional Facility.

The project was funded by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America, which is represented by Luis A. Miranda, father of renowned artist Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Association has invested around $500,000 in the project. Besides receiving training and a certification, inmates who complete the training also receive a toolbox that contains everything they need to immediately start building FEMA-code endorsed timber houses at a low cost.

As part of the training, which lasted for a month and a half, the inmates built two wooden structures size 20’x18 ‘, that will eventually be used as homes. These structures remain at the correctional facility, according to the Secretary of Correction, and with the assistance of a no-for-profit institution could be donated to homeless people in need.


At the end of the training, inmates receive a toolbox that contains all they need to begin construction work immediately.