Prison gardening programs teach inmates valuable skills, reduce recidivism, and provide those in need with fresh produce.
In 2008, the Pew Center on the States reported that Vermont, Michigan, Oregon, Connecticut, and Delaware spent more on prisons than higher education, and the ratio of prison to education spending was increasing.
Prisons receive billions of dollars each year in government funding, yet national recidivism rates continue to hover at around 66 percent. Following the economic recession, budgets have been slashed, forcing penitentiaries and post-release programs to cut spending.
Considered nonessential and expensive, garden programs are often the first to be cut, yet they have proven to be successful in not only reducing recidivism rates and improving rehabilitation, but also providing fresh healthy food to inmates and surrounding communities.
IN PICTURES: Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project
Today, Nourishing the Planet presents five innovative programs around the country that are proof of what gardening programs can accomplish.
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