Prison Program in Calhoun County

Eldon Everhart, Field Specialist, Southwest
Problem Statement

Before ISU Extension programs began at the North Central Correctional Facility in Calhoun County, there were few horticulture activities inside the prison and most of the produce served to inmates was grown and processed as canned products outside of Iowa.  Inmates disliked the food, the drab surroundings, and the limited outdoor activities.
Programmatic Response

Over 30 years of research has documented that horticulture activities in prisons have behavior benefits and provide vocational training.  Based on these findings, Calhoun County CEED Jerry Chizek and Field Specialist Eldon Everhart and began conducting more on-site consultations, hands-on workshops, and training sessions related to horticulture activities for inmates, staff, and volunteers at the North Central Correctional Facility.

Inmates and staff at the North Central Correctional Facility use the training provided by Extension to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  Some inmates say that Extension training has given them confidence and a positive attitude.  Staff members claim that inmates who get this training have better behavior and problems.  Produce yields have continued to increase since the time when ISU Extension became involved.  In 2005, the estimated net value of the horticulture crops produced at the North Central Correctional Facility was about $500,000.

December 22, 2005, January-March 2006
106 - Green Industry (Commercial Horticulture and Forestry)

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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