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Jail garden grows plants, rehabilitates inmates - CacheValleyDaily.com : Local News

Jail garden grows plants, rehabilitates inmates

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Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:53 pm

LOGAN - As part of their recovery and rehabilitation some inmates in the Cache County Jail train in programs that might provide them a new path in life. One of the most visible is the jail’s greenhouse and garden.

Cache County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Matt Bilodeau estimates it’s been about six years that inmates have been working in both the greenhouse and in gardens that produce food for the jail right on the grounds.

“It got started through a collaboration of the USU Extension office and employees here,” said Bilodeau. “What we want to do here is provide many avenues or programs for inmates who want to be rehabilitated or to have other skills when they leave the jail setting so that they will be more successful when they get out. This is one of those opportunities that could provide a path for them.”

While others may help from time to time, two inmates are assigned to the garden and two are assigned to the grounds, but may also spend time helping in the garden.

“A deputy here supervises workers who have been cleared to work outside of the building. Also, someone comes here from the county extension office and teaches them what they need to do and gives them tips.”

The jail runs a high volume of vegetables through the kitchen to feed 300 inmates at a time and a lot of that is grown in the jail garden.

“Some who have been released will come back and tell us after working in the garden here they now have a garden that is their hobby,” said Bilodeau. “One young man who now works for a local nursery in the valley used to work in the prison garden.”

Classes are available in horticulture and certification for the use of pesticides. Inmates learn about plants, growing conditions, transplanting, pesticides, pests and about the harvest.

Inmates grow a variety of flowers that are used in many areas of the county.

“Seeing the process of growing something from start to finish helps teach them responsibility and helps to give them a feeling of accomplishment,” said Bilodeau.

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