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
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:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 11:00 PM
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.
Volunteer, <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/">Clinton
Subj: [cg] Prison gardens
Date: 3/21/03 2:52:59 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tamsin Salehian)
To: email@example.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.
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