How Inmates at Texas Jail Produce $100,000 in Food For All Prisoners


A select group of jail inmates in Collin County, Tx., learns the value of a hard day's work and sees the fruits of its labor at the dinner table, says the Dallas Morning News. “It's kind of a mom-and-pop garden gone wild,” said Sheriff's Lt. Eddie Dent, who oversees the inmate farm program. This year's harvest totaled 67,362 pounds of food valued at about $104,588. That food helps feed the 800 to 1,000 inmates in the county's jail system each day. Any excess is donated to local nonprofits.

Inmates provide all the labor, from plowing to planting to harvesting. Potatoes, onions, okra, zucchini and cantaloupe are the biggest crops. The inmate farm started in 1991 as part of the Sheriff's Convicted Offender Re-entry Effort, also known as SCORE. That program, which accepts up to 40 inmates at a time, requires community service. In addition to working on the farm, inmates clean the county animal shelter, clear brush on county property, and do cleanup work for various cities and nonprofits. They also do maintenance at county cemeteries and help out at a landfill. Last year, the SCORE crews provided 52,591 hours of labor. Using the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that amounts to $381,284 in savings.

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