You can always tell when the woodshop begins its operations for the day. For one, there is always that distinct sound of the motor turning over and activating the air filtration system, bringing the woodshop to life. Secondly, about the same time there is an unmistakable troop of about 90 inmates spilling out of the buildings at the Nottoway Correctional Center – all of which are heading towards the woodshop to report to work.
Besides the dust that seems to permeate the air, there is definetly an atmosphere to the woodshop. Every person, whether they are an inmate or staff, plays a role and has certain duties which they are expected to carry out.
Take for example Tim, who is one of the floor supervisors. One of his functions in the morning is to hand out essential items such as gloves, tape, as well as keys. It is fair to say that he is an outgoing fellow who always greets all of us workers first thing in the morning, just like Jill does. When it comes to her, she just so happens to be the plant manager, therefore it is her job to make sure that the place is ran like a well-oiled machine. And it is.
There is no doubt that both Jill and Tim do their part, as does Christi, Julia, & Steve. However, when it comes to these particular staff members they are merely spokes in the wheel that makes up the woodshop. For the most part, it is the inmates who make up the intricate parts in the woodshop.
Every part that gets made (which we refer to as jobs), has to first go through the job processing dept., which is ran by Jesse. It just so happens that he is the clerk as well as a fellow inmate.
“Jesse, how many jobs do we have on the floor?” one of the supervisors can ask him at any given time.
When it comes to Jesse, he is a pretty smart individual. It would only take a split second for you to realize this once you get to talking to him. The other thing that you’ll notice is that he has a professional demeanor about himself, and that he takes his job seriously. After positioning the mouse in the appropriate place and a couple of clicks later, he’ll have the answer for you.
Depending on what the part is, depends on what dept. it goes to. For the Envision line, things like panels, tops, and the like that make up desks, cabinets, etc. go to the Scheer saw to be cut. This dept. is ran by old man Hunt, who calls himself “The Wood Doctor.” For parts in the Piedmont and Commonwealth line they go to the Komo machines to be cut. These two departments are ran by Puff and Sincere, also fellow inmates. As far as that goes, every dept. has a “lead man.” In effect, this particular inmate is ultimately responsible not only for the jobs that come through his department, but also the work that other inmates perform in his dept.
Typically, parts that come from these departments make their way to the Edgeband Dept., where they receive edegeband when required, hence the name. If it happens to be an Envision product it then makes it way to my dept., the vertical bore machine. There, it is up to me and my co-worker to drill different sized holes into each part so that it may be fitted to other parts. Eventually every part has to go through QC, or Quality Control Dept. to be measured & inspected for quality assurance.
Besides the departments that were mentioned, there are many others with each having their own set of functions. These include: Assembly, AutoCAD, Raw Materials, Rough Wood, & the SA Dept. (which is short for sanding); just to name a few.
To say in the least, there are a lot of things being produced within the woodshop at the Nottoway Correctional Center. Chances are, if you visited any state agency such as the DMV, or pretty much any state college in Virginia, you’ve seen a chair, desk, table top, or the like that came from the Woodshop here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. As always, I welcome feedback and of course I would love to hear from you directly. Enclosed below is my contact info.

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To reach me via snail mail:
David Bomber #1130793
Nottoway Correctional Center
P.O. Box 488
Burkeville, Va. 23922