Jail garden gives inmates opportunity to grow

Jail garden gives Stark County inmates a chance to grow

PLAIN TOWNSHIP - Inmates are turning a new leaf at the Stark County Jail with the help of a garden full of vegetables. 
 
“It’s therapeutic for me, actually,” said Christopher Campbell.
 
A probation violation led to Campbell’s 60-day sentence at the Stark County Jail. 
 
Campbell volunteered to be a part of the garden program at the jail. The fruits of the inmates’ labor will help Community Harvest Inc., a non-profit that has merged with the Akron-Canton Foodbank to help those in need.
 
The garden has been in place for several years, but this year officials are working closely with Community Harvest to determine what food items are most needed in the area. 
 
“It started from the seed, and you can appreciate that you did that, you did that,” said Campbell. 
 
Among the items being harvested this year: 
  • zucchini
  • squash 
  • tomatoes 
  • basil 
The process takes time, but it’s time well spent, according to Campbell. 
 
“This is something to keep your mind on something positive, and it should carry on throughout life.”
 
Corrections Officer Richard Talbert, oversees the garden program which allows inmates serving a sentence for non-violent crimes to volunteer after going through an "extensive screening process." Talbert hopes the opportunity means a new life for the inmates, beyond the gates of the jail and away from crime.
 
“There’s other alternatives [for the inmates] besides crime,” said Talbert. “I don’t like to see them come back.”
 
Talbert said he understands the impact of the program after a discussion he had with an inmate. 
 
“He said he never worked a day in his life, he was like 40-year-old," said Talbert. "So he decided 'when I get out of here, I'm going to get a job.' I like hearing that."
 
Campbell said doesn’t want to be part of the statistic in regards. He says he doesn’t plan on returning. 
 
“Actually, I’m retiring from this place,” said Campbell. 
 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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