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Inmate Labor & Gardening

  • Subject: [cg] Inmate Labor & Gardening
  • From: Jim Call jimcall@casagarden.com
  • Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 17:04:28 -0600

To All:
First of all, I wish ya'll a happy new year. With the horrific tragedy in Asia, its tough to be celebrating when so many are suffering.
*Background: *
Huntsville currently uses 6 male inmate crews and 2 women inmate crews to help keep our city beautiful. They operate under the auspices of Operation Green Team (OGT), which reports directly to the Mayor. OGT's main mission is litter control and to educate the public about littering. The inmates volunteer to work about 6 hours a day (5 days a week), in return for a reduced sentence (DUI offenders, spouse abuse, bad check writers, etc.). The crews mainly pick up litter on heavily travelled streets, but also perform weeding, mulching, pressure-washing and many other beautification oriented tasks.

*Question:* Is anyone aware// of a city that uses inmate labor to operate a gardening operation dedicated to helping the needy?

As I get more involved as a city employee, I'm thinking about asking the Mayor to convert or add a crew to operate a garden for the purpose of serving the needy (maybe Spring 2006). Right now, I'm doing my homework. I think if this project has an education value added feature, along with helping our community, it could work.

Since I oversee a CG, I have been asked to plant a few tomatoes next year (2005) for the inmate crews since they eat only bologna sandwiches for lunch every day. Can't wait to look into their eyes when they bite into some juicy home grown tomatoes.
Thanks in advance for your input.

Jim Call, CASA Community Garden Volunteer Director
Project Supervisor, City of Huntsville

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