The USA is pioneering schemes that are helping people to re-enter civil society after a prison sentence better equipped to cope in the world and adjust to life after being locked up. One project, Pathways to Resilience, uses a 'permaculture infused value curriculum', teaching permaculture design, how to grow food, peer mentorship that involves talking through issues in a supportive circle, symbolic rites of passage, bushcraft, and social entrepreneurship over five months with former prisoners.
"I am trying to learn everything I can. I am one of the oldest guys in the class. This is the first time I have graduated from anything. It is going to be awesome," says one participant.
In Britain, we have more people in prison than ever before and almost 50% of all prisoners re-offend again. Prison is often the first place where they are introduced to drugs. It is clear that institutionising people in the criminal justice system and then releasing them after serving a sentence does not work. We have to rethink the system.
This video shows just how powerful permaculture can be when combined with techniques that help people who have been incarcerated process emotional and social problems.
This innovative program ran two successful cohorts from 2014-Spring 2015. It is a model that the collaborators hope will be learned from and replicated in the future!
Cinematography & Editing by Spencer Wilkinson (United Roots)
'Xanax Pillows' by Micah Berek