HORTICULTURAL TRAINING IMPROVES JOB PROSPECTS AND SENSE OF WELL BEING FOR PRISON INMATES
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) faculty members have taught basic horticulture to inmates of Southern Nevada correctional facilities for a decade. The training material was originally the 70-hour curriculum used to teach gardening volunteers. We have revised the program, directing it more toward job skills to assist inmates after release. The curriculum was expanded to concentrate on such topics as irrigation, landscape plant selection and maintenance, and problem solving. To further improve employment opportunities, UNCE established collaboration with the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Inmates who pass the horticulture program may take the state pesticide applicator training and examination. Conversations with potential employers indicate that this enhances the likelihood of employment at a higher than entry level. We extended the program, adding a class on resume writing and applying for jobs. Two new courses were added in 2008 floral design and landscape design. Over 400 inmates have completed one or more of the courses, at six institutions. Program graduates who were released from prison were surveyed to evaluate the effects of the horticulture course on them personally. Some program graduates report that because of this training they enrolled in college after leaving the prison system. Those people who completed the course reported overall improved sense of control over their lives and improved relationships with others.
O'Callaghan, A.M., Robinson, M.L., Reed, C. and Roof, L. (2010). HORTICULTURAL TRAINING IMPROVES JOB PROSPECTS AND SENSE OF WELL BEING FOR PRISON INMATES. Acta Hortic. 881, 773-778
recidivism, incarceration, vocational programs, corrections, Master Gardener curriculum