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Re: Prison gardens

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Prison gardens
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 08:39:18 EST


Please cut and paste the following links in  your browser. 

1) The most extensive prison garden program near me in NYC is run by the NY 
Horticultural Society in the Riker's Prison complex: 

Here's the link to the NY Horticultural Society.  ACGA Board Member Kate 
Chura is Chief Operations Officer


The HSNY project is called "Green House"

After you read about the project, you'll want to e-mail the HSNY's Mr. James 
Jiler, who directs the HSNY Greenhouse project at - Jjiler5530@aol.com - for 
more information. 

2) Ability Magazine Article on NY Hort Society's programs including the 
Riker's Prison Project: 

3) The first thing about gardening and community gardening in specific is to 
look to local resources - it's amazing what you'll find close to you. 

I would suggest that your sister go to Silerwater Prison in Sydney to get 
ideas, talk to staff and prisoner gardeners. 

This is the web link for the attached story:  

Silerwater Prison Garden
The Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre at Silverwater in Sydney is the 
largest maximum security prison in Australia, with more than 900 inmates at 
any one time. Only four years old, it's a state-of-the-art facility but like 
all prisons, it's not a very welcoming place. There is, however, one area in 
this prison which has a soothing atmosphere - the garden. A small but very 
dedicated team of prisoners works very hard here nearly every day of the year.
Angi, one of the gardeners, says, 'It's one of the most privileged jobs you 
can get in the gaol. You're a trusted person - the feeling is great out in 
the garden. And you get to see other people. Even just walking by and saying, 
"Hello" is a good thing.'
The Ground Maintenance Overseer is Patti Angre, who works five days a week 
with the inmates. She's an enthusiastic supporter of their involvement. 'It's 
tough sometimes because you deal with people from all different walks of 
life. I have to be careful on whom I employ in the gardens. The wing officers 
have files where they keep records of inmates and their behaviour. If I feel 
that if an inmate can work and can be trained, then I'll employ them.' She 
had some initial problems. 'They'd never hand-weeded and they would say, "Oh, 
can't we use a spray?" I'd say, "No, because weeding is therapeutic. Besides 
that, we've got the birds and fish and turtles to think about."'
Rod is on the garden team. 'I get to get out, away from all the riff-raff 
that goes on. We're out here on our own. We're trusted out here. I'm looking 
forward to getting home and making the wife a nice garden so she can get out 
and get a bit of stress relief from the kids, a bit of time out.'
Despite its newness, the garden is well established and maintained. Built on 
land once owned by the explorer John Blaxland, its extensive lawns and garden 
beds are set out around an 1890s National Trust-classified hospital building. 
A beautiful landscape mural camouflages a concrete wall and there's a real 
stream with waterfalls. Native plants have been chosen for their fast growth 
and quick screening tendencies. Endangered green and gold bell frogs have 
managed to infiltrate the maximum-security water garden. At the moment there 
are three males, but it is hoped that some females will hop across from the 
Olympic site so they can breed. 
One of the garden team, Stuart, introduces an entertaining garden resident. 
'Woody is a long-billed corella. We get rosellas coming through from time to 
time, a lot of magpies, pigeons, two male peacocks, two females. It's 
peaceful to see them getting around the place, enjoying them.'
Jerry, another of the gardeners, takes strength from the garden's cycle of 
life. 'They're bred up from just little seeds and then a few weeks later, 
they bloom. You feel good about that, you know. Eventually when I get out of 
here, I'll know how to do my own gardening.'
Patti says, 'Having a good garden really is very important, because it 
uplifts people's spirits. I've seen people who have been quite aggro. When 
they start working with us they are a bit calmer, because they're actually 
doing something, they're not just locked up in their cell doing nothing.'
4) Here is a great reply that I pulled up from the archives of  the  ACGA 
listserve ( just go to mallorn.com, find community garden and once you're 
gotten into the years listed, you can search by topic)

From: David Hackenberry [mailto:dhackenberry@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 11:00 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] re: info on Prison Gardens (Beth Waitkus)

I am running a prison garden program for female inmates in Pueblo Colorado.  
Including gardens, greenhouses, landscaping and floral design.  I have a list 
of contacts around the country and world who are using gardens in prisons.  
And I have been documenting the success rate of gardeners released from my 
facility.I would be happy to share info with you.
David K. Hackenberry, HTR
Colorado Dept. of Corrections
Pueblo Minimum Center
PO Box 3
Pueblo, Colorado 81002 

5) Adam's seat-of-the- pants answer:  You'll want to have both soothing, 
decorative gardens as well as a communal market garden, not individual plots. 
 The idea here is rehabiltation and getting people who ended up in prison 
working together.  Some prison gardens raise food for the prison, for local 
senior citizen, soup kitchens and other desperately needed Food Security 
Programs.  It is a way, for many prisoner volunteers, to make amends...to 
give back.  But talk to the professionals that I listed above.  They may have 
very different ideas.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman,
Volunteer,  <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton 
Community Garden</A> 

Subj:    [cg] Prison gardens
 Date:  3/21/03 2:52:59 AM Eastern Standard Time
 From:  tamsin@sparecreative.com (Tamsin Salehian)
 Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
 To:    community_garden@mallorn.com (CG List (E-mail))
 I have a question for anyone involved in prison gardens.
 My sister (a landscape architect)  is designing grounds for a low security
 prison and would like to include a horticultural therapy section in the way
 of either a market garden or individual plots. The ability to grow food
 would be an advantage but the question is: what is thought of as the most
 useful design - a market style garden or individual plots? Also if plots
 what size/person? Unfortunately plans have to be made without consultation
 with prison users, but it was felt that the inclusion of gardening elements
 would be beneficial.  Is there a website/books or other studies which would
 be useful for this?
 Thanks for any help.
 In peace,

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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