Prisoners farming to feed themselves
Inmates at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre (ST CACC) have been farming up a storm, producing vegetables to feed themselves. The prisoners are also involved in agro-processing.
"Since January 2019, they have produced over 2,410 pounds of vegetables in the garden. The vegetables and items have, over the years, been used to supplement the inmates' diets while contributing to the facility's objective of achieving full self-sufficiency, Rudyard Spencer, state minister for national security, said.
Spencer said that the government is seeking to develop a thriving agricultural plan within the prisons so that the inmates can eat what they grow and grow what they eat.
The ST CACC has a 4-H club that was created four years ago. A total of 80 inmates have been trained in agro-processing and farming techniques. Since its inception, the club has won at the regional and national level in several agro-processing and farm garden competitions. The expo showcases products made from peanut, cashew, sweet potato, breadfruit, callaloo, and beetroot.
The prison has saved approximately $100,000 under the agricultural programme. Currently, the ST CACC 4-H club supplies baked products and vegetables to its inmates while donating the surplus to other institutions.
"The St Catherine 4-H club placed first and second in 2017 and 2018 at the Denbigh Agricultural Show while achieving multiple successes in other competitions. I applaud the Jamaica 4-H clubs for recognising the need to equip our inmates with transferable life skills so that upon release, they will continue to lead productive lives and start lucrative businesses," Spencer said.