More than just a gardening program - using horticultural therapy and mindfulness practice to promote health and connection for incarcerated individuals and those preparing to re-enter their communities
Insight Garden Program works at the intersection of criminal and environmental justice, offering an innovative 48-week holistic gardening program in prison. IGP's mission is to reconnect incarcerated people to self, community and the natural world. The inner and outer gardening approach draws on horticultural therapy practices to transform lives, end ongoing cycles of incarceration, and create connected communities. IGP also provides reentry bridging services to people returning home who leave the program empowered to become community leaders and environmental stewards, thereby decreasing recidivism. This paper introduces the curriculum and intentional program design used in the prison program and offers anecdotes and research to support the notion of gardening in a prison to improve health and well-being for incarcerated individuals. This paper discusses how horticultural therapy techniques are used to promote health and connection for participants, while incarcerated and once they are released. The paper also relays some of the challenges and joys of gardening in a concrete and barbed wire environment.
Hart, F.B. and Reisner, M. (2021). More than just a gardening program - using horticultural therapy and mindfulness practice to promote health and connection for incarcerated individuals and those preparing to re-enter their communities. Acta Hortic. 1330, 41-48
environmental justice, intersectionality, meditation, participant centered, prison garden, reentry, recidivism reduction, rehabilitation, trauma informed