Inmates from a Rock County jail diversion program are learning how their labor can help others, by working in a community garden. “What it teaches them is, it gives them a positive reinforcement, they work together collectively. It’s good solid work, and they see the fruits of their efforts at the very end,” says Sheriff’s Captain Russ Steeber. “It really is a good program.”
Steeber says the inmates in the Community Recap program are helping fill food pantries. Inmate grown produce is also going to WIC Clinics and senior centers. “Where seniors may not necessarily be able to go to a farmers market, the farmers market can come to them,” says Steeber. “We’ve expanded the program from smaller plots, to about an acre and a half right now.”
Grant money provides garden classes for the inmates through UW-Extension. “They (the classes) give them a skill set that when they leave the jail, after they’ve graduated out of ReCap, they’ve done their sentence, that they can take back with them,” says Steeber. “Let’s face it, if you have something that you can do as a hobby or kind of on the side, to keep you occupied, you’re more likely to succeed in society.” The Sheriff’s office is offering an open house at the garden on Wednesday.
Submitted by Beth Wheelock, WCLO