Planting seeds for life on the outside

Prisoners work on a vegie patch.
Prisoners work on a vegie patch.

A prime example is its market garden, which is probably not a sight most would expect when touring a prison.

Rows of vegetable crop are evident as prisoners garbed in green and equipped with rakes and wheelbarrows are busily working.

It is a sight virtually mirroring market gardens dotting Casuarina, albeit with the watchful gaze from security officers in the backdrop.

In 2013-14, Casuarina Prison’s market garden produced more than $50,000 of vegetables.

Business manager Mike Feltham said the vegetables were processed at the prison’s vegetable preparation area and used in prisons across the state.

‘We produce lots of vegetables, including broccoli, beans, cabbage and celery,’ he said.

‘It helps offset costs, as it is important to find ways to save the public’s purse.’

Mr Feltham said it was important for the inmates to develop a skill set.

‘We encourage training and work experience opportunities to help prisoners gain job and life skills,’ he said.

‘It also helps them adopt a work ethic and develop team skills while working together.’

An inmate said he had gained a diploma in horticulture during his time in prison.

‘I was always interested in gardening, so it was a good opportunity to do some study and get into it in prison,’ he said.

‘I really enjoy gardening and we produce a lot of crops, so it is great to be part of the nurturing process and enjoying the end result where we can eat the vegetables.

‘For me, gardening is therapeutic and it is something to keep me active and engaged every day.

‘I try to pass on my knowledge and skills to some of the others and there are a few who are really keen to learn.’