A special program allows suburban prisoners to grow food and earn college credit

Gardening education at Dupage County Prison is developing rehabilitation and college loans for some inmates, and the community is benefiting from their hard work.

The eight-week course is a partnership between DuPage County Sheriff’s Office and DuPage College.

Participants in the program will learn how to plant and practice vegetables and herbs.

“I’ve always been around family planning, and now I’ve learned the science behind it, so it makes sense now,” said James Anoreno.

According to Dupage College Vegetarian, Connie Colmeier, the inmates receive three college credits for online and physical education.

“If you decide to go ahead with a degree or certificate in fruits and vegetables, then look at that program, and even if you choose a different program at some point, you can still use it as an election credit,” Colemeier said.

The garden is growing with peppers and tomatoes, as well as vegetables and flowers. Most of the produce will go to local food warehouses and shelters, the sheriff’s office said.

JUST of DuPage is a non-profit organization that provides social services and re-entry programs for inmates.

“They have the skills to go out, such as welding or hygiene certification, they can work in commercial markets and earn $ 40 or $ 50,000 a year. For many, abandoning street life or addiction is enough to truly change their lives and take care of their families and the community, ”said Executive Director Michael Berry.

The fruit and vegetable lesson is being held in the Garden of Hope. In 2016, he was named after a baby boy found in a bag in Rutton Forest. The sheriff’s office has filed a lawsuit against a woman whose identity has not been identified. About the baby’s death last August. Sheriff said the baby’s family had not been identified.


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