Numerous studies show that education or vocational training is the best way to reduce recidivism, reduce crime. And here we see that individuals who engaged in horticultural programs demonstrated the lowest rate of recidivism over all other categories of released inmates. 

Such inexpensive and simple programs could save BILLIONS of your tax dollars and keep us safer!

Excerpts from the Article:

A study out of Texas State University attempted to determine the number of available horticultural community service opportunities for individuals completing community service hours per their probation or parole requirements, and whether that brand of community service generates a calculable offset against the common nature of repeat offenses for an inmate population once released.

Former graduate student Megan Holmes and her advisor Tina Waliczek delved into this complex topic, evaluating whether horticultural programs or exposure to horticultural settings can help to reduce the probability of recidivism. Their findings are detailed in the article ‘The Effect of Horticultural Community Service Programs on Recidivism’ available now in HortTechnology, an open-access journal published by the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Waliczek explains, “We became interested in this study because of observations made in our own campus garden where offenders often serve out community service sentences. Some of those serving would mention how they felt a sense of purpose and pride in working with the plants in the garden. Our study verified some of those initial observations.”

As the researchers illustrate in their article, the average cost of housing a single inmate in the United States is roughly $31,286 per year, bringing the total average cost states spend on corrections to nearly $75 billion per year.

The United States currently incarcerates the greatest percentage of its population compared with any other nation in the world. Although the world average rate of incarceration is 166 individuals per 100,000, the US average is 750 per 100,000. And recidivism is a predictable factor of our criminal justice system.

Recidivism is the repetition of criminal behavior and reimprisonment of an offender and is one of the reasons for large inmate populations in the United States. Research tracked a total of 404,638 prisoners across 30 states for a span of 5 years and found 67.8% of prisoners released reoffended within 3 years and a total of 76.6% reoffended within 5 years of being released. One third of those offenders were arrested within the first 6 months of being released.

Holmes added, “Further researching the role plants play on positively impacting an individual’s life or decision to productively redirect their behavior has the potential to greatly benefit our society as a whole, long-term.

Past studies have shown that certain educational and rehabilitation efforts have helped to reduce a return to a life of crime. As a means of education and vocational rehabilitation, horticultural programs have been introduced into detention facilities across the United States. Many prisoners have participated in horticultural activities such as harvesting and maintaining their own vegetable gardens as a means of providing food for the institution, which can also serve as skill development for a means of earning income once released back into society.

Waliczek suggested, “Participation in horticultural programs upon being released from prison or while on probation partnered with educational and community service could provide a sense of meaning and purpose to offenders while also helping assist with a successful transition back into society.”

In investigating the different types of community service opportunities available to offenders, Holmes and Waliczek found there were 52 different agencies available as options for community service during the time of the study. Of the 52 community service agencies, 25 of them provided horticultural work options.

The results and information gathered support the notion that horticultural activities can play an important role in influencing an offender’s successful reentry into society. The researchers found that individuals who engaged in horticultural programs demonstrated the lowest rate of recidivism over all other categories of released inmates.

She further added, “I plan on continuing this research and studying the overall benefits of horticulture on the well-being and recidivism rates of both incarcerated juvenile and adult offenders on a larger scale.”

 

 

Using Plants to Combat Prison Recidivism

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Letter to the Editor –  A Simple way to Reduce Crime – 9/14/19 – kra

Numerous studies show that education or vocational training is the best way to reduce recidivism, reduce crime. And here we see that individuals who engaged in horticultural programs demonstrated the lowest rate of recidivism over all other categories of released inmates. When we reduce recidivism, by definition we reduce crime.

The average cost of housing a single inmate in the United States is roughly $31,286 per year, bringing the total average cost states spend on corrections to nearly $75 billion per year. In Delaware, the average cost per year of housing one inmate is closer to $37,000.

Many prisoners across the nation have participated in horticultural activities such as harvesting and maintaining their own vegetable gardens as a means of providing food for the institution, which can also serve as skill development for a means of earning income once released back into society.

Giving ex-offenders a means to stay busy, contribute to their community, and earn money, just makes sense! We should greatly increase these programs nationwide, instead of continuing to spend billions of dollars warehousing people!

Such inexpensive and simple programs could save BILLIONS of your tax dollars and keep us safer!

Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE, 302-423-4067

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I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
…………
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 ekke, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! kenabraham3138@gmail.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.