Prison garden gives back to community - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Prison garden gives back to community

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It’s not the rows of barbed wire you might normally see inside a prison. It’s not the rows of barbed wire you might normally see inside a prison.
The Impact Incarceration Program in Dixon Springs has their inmates tend to a nearly football field-sized garden. From seed to plant, they tend to the garden each day; watering, weeding and picking. The Impact Incarceration Program in Dixon Springs has their inmates tend to a nearly football field-sized garden. From seed to plant, they tend to the garden each day; watering, weeding and picking.
The boot camp holds over 200 inmates, 17 of which are female. The inmates are non-violent, and most are incarcerated on drug-related charges. The boot camp holds over 200 inmates, 17 of which are female. The inmates are non-violent, and most are incarcerated on drug-related charges.
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DIXON SPRINGS, IL (KFVS) -

It’s not the rows of barbed wire you might normally see inside a prison.

Instead, rows of corn, watermelon and cucumbers make up the outside of Dixon Springs Minimum Security Boot Camp.

The Impact Incarceration Program in Dixon Springs has their inmates tend to a nearly football field-sized garden. From seed to plant, they tend to the garden each day; watering, weeding and picking.

“They are able to come out here and focus on something other than being housed in a prison environment,” said Jason Henton with the program.

Staff at the prison said it’s a different take on teaching inmates responsibility and hard work during their 120 day stay. Inmates take part in every aspect of taking care of the garden.

“At least six to eight hours a day,” said Penny Poole, corrections officer. “It’s a lot of work.”

Correctional officers say it’s a way for them to get outside, get their hands dirty and learn how to provide for themselves once released.

“It teaches them that not everything comes from a store that they can just buy,” Poole said. “That if you work hard, a little bit hard, that you can actually grow your own food without depending on somebody else.”

The produce is then donated to area food pantries and shelters, as well as to schools in Harrisburg and Vienna.

“We’ve got about 200 to 225 potato plants,” she said.

It’s showing promising effects for their futures.

“I actually want to start a garden with my own daughter,” an inmate said.

It’s an experience some inmates say they will take with them after they’re released.

The boot camp holds over 200 inmates, 17 of which are female. The inmates are non-violent, and most are incarcerated on drug-related charges.

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