HELENA, Okla. -- A bounty of crops stretching to the horizon. It’s harvest time in northwest Oklahoma.
Some 300 inmates work at Agri-Services’ eleven DOC farms. According to Farm Manager Jimmy Wilson, “Hopefully we are helping with recidivism, giving the guys some skills. If nothing else they are learning how to get up and go to work and do something that’s rewarding for them.”
Many offenders have never worked a legitimate job and need to learn the basics like punctuality, following instructions and teamwork. JCCC inmate, Jeff Risenhoover said, “I haven’t been given an opportunity in the world. With agriculture but now I’ve got the basis of a labors job where I can step in be help. Help them and help them along the way. And work my way up in a company that gives me the opportunity.”
The prison farm program teaches inmates about nutrition, how to grow food and related life-skills. The program supplies healthy food for all our prison cafeterias as well. Wilson said, “Our mission is to provide as much food products to the inmate population as possible.”
Creating a self-sustaining food supply for the department of corrections and reducing the recidivism rate.
The hope is, the inmates will become law-abiding, tax-paying citizens with valuable job skills. According to Agri-Services' John Meadows, “It does help to keep their food budgets down. Helps keeping the state from having to fork out so much money. And it gives these guys a sense of responsibility. Everybody wins.”
At James Crabtree Correctional Center – they are planting the seed of second chances.