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Inmate donates hair to Locks of Love

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leslie Watts, left, cuts the hair of fellow Putnamville Correctional Facility inmate Dustin Pino, who donated 11 inches of his hair to Locks of Love.
PUTNAMVILLE -- Despite his incarceration, Dustin Pino, an inmate at Putnamville Correctional Facility, found a way to help out children in need.

"I just found out that an officer's wife at my job assignment here has cancer, and I wanted to do something to help," Pino said.

To that end, Pino, 27, recently donated 11 inches of his hair to Locks of Love, and organization that uses human hair to make wigs for children who have been stricken with cancer and lost their hair to chemotherapy.

In addition to the physical stress cancer can put on children, hair loss can lead to emotional issues such as love self-esteem and poor self-image. Locks of Love is dedicated to helping children overcome these challenges.

"I heard about Locks of Love and knew that's what I wanted to do," Pino said.

When Pino first started thinking about donating his hair to Locks of Love, he asked Bettina West, a lieutenant at Putnamville, to see if it would be a possibility. West went through the proper channels and was able to escort Pino to the prison barbershop, where Leslie Watts, an offender from Indianapolis, cut Pino's hair.

Another consideration for Pino with regard to cutting his hair was his culture -- he is Native American, and the cutting of hair, as a matter of tradition, is prohibited.

"My mom was really upset that I was going to cut it," Pino said. "But when I told her why, she was OK."

Pino is serving a sentence for aggravated battery. He is due to be released from prison in 2015.

"I've done enough bad in my life," he said. "This time, I did something good. I'm going to let (my hair) grow and donate it again."

Putnamville Superintendent Bruce C. Lemmon lauded Pino's efforts.

"Our correctional facilities are full of Pinos ... People who, through crime, have taken from our communities; who, through incarceration, are paying their debt to society; and who, through acts of kindness, show empathy toward others," Lemmon said. "I support any program that evokes feelings of responsibility for one another, and, thanks to Pino, every offender at the facility will have an opportunity to participate."

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Good stuff.

-- Posted by 1stamendrights on Sat, Jan 30, 2010, at 1:12 PM

What a positive story. It's nice to hear some good news for a change.

-- Posted by longtimecitizen on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 4:09 PM

LocksOfLove.Org is this the site to find out info about donating hair? Don't let the cost of haircut stand in your way of donating to this. If you cannot afford it, most beauticians are willing to donate thier time for this worthwhile cause (call ahead in advance and speak to the hair stylist). Do pay and tip the stylist for the job they do they deserve it to-- I am only saying don't let poverty be the reason YOU don't help a child. Pinos started this at Putnamville. Imagine how many happy children there would be if Every inmate (with long enough hair) in Indiana would do this...

-- Posted by MannerlyHoosier on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 8:09 PM

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