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Md. inmates carving turkeys for Thanksgiving charity dinner

HAGERSTOWN — State prison officials are putting knives into the hands of inmates at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Institution near Hagerstown.

Their targets are 400 donated turkeys that the inmates will begin cooking and carving Tuesday for the Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving charity dinner in Baltimore.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services says inmate labor has been part of the tradition for more than 25 years. The knives are chained to stainless steel tables. Prison officials say none has ever been used in an attack.

They say the inmates are learning butchering skills that could help them find work after they’re released.

The charity dinner is named for the late founder of a Baltimore homeless shelter who started feeding the hungry with $250 in lottery winnings in 1981.