Youth Today, now under new management, writes about The Garden Project and other similar programs for inmates to work on gardening. Correctional facilities that have offered such activities for awhile have significantly reduced recidivism rates, studies show. The WorldWatch Institute says the Sandusky County Jail in Ohio finds a recidivism rate of only 18 percent from those inmates who participate in its garden program, as opposed to 40 percent for those who don't.
Graduates of the Greenhouse Program at the Rikers Island jail in New York City experience a 5-10 percent recidivism rate, as opposed to 65 percent in the general inmate population. Participants in The Garden Project at the San Francisco County Jail have a 24 percent recidivism rate, rather than 55 percent otherwise. Gardening programs that involve people at even younger ages show promising positive effects in not only reducing recidivism but also helping youth avoid first-time offenses. Sidney Morgan, the Community Works Leader for the Department of Community Justice in Multnomah County, Or., sees big changes in youth when they work in a garden.