By Lt. Michael Dunn, AA/PIO, CCWF
and Krissi Khokhobashvili, PIO II, OPEC
Photos by Leslie Resch

Women incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) recently put their green thumbs into action as they planted a beautiful garden as part of the Insight Garden Program (IGP), a nationally recognized program that aims to rehabilitate the incarcerated through connection to nature and the study of sustainable gardening.

The women’s months-long preparation for the garden has included planning the physical layout of the garden, determining the plants best suitable for the area, and learning how to maintain the garden year-round. During the installation, inmates will plant pollinator-friendly plants that require minimal amounts of recycled water.

IGP provides inmates with environmental education, permaculture gardening skills, behavioral tools and life and work skills. The program was founded in 2002 at San Quentin State Prison and is now at eight prisons in California and Indiana.

IGP improves prison culture, promotes positive interactions among people in prison and prison staff, reduces disciplinary infractions, helps people in prison advance toward parole, and supports the reconnection of people in prison with their families and communities.

To achieve the mission of transforming lives through connection to nature, IGP engages participants in weekly, two-hour environmental education, personal development, and professional trainings that enable them to re-enter society with a commitment to environmental stewardship, marketable green sector skills, and the personal resilience required to succeed.