Division of Adult Parole Operations, Rehabilitation

Gardening program nurtures parolees’ good nature

Men and women stand in the center of a prepared garden bed.
GEO, Urban Mission and parolees took part in the Restorative Gardening Project in Pomona.

By DAPO staff

Parolees are able to nurture their good nature thanks to a pilot program, the Restorative Gardening Project. The Division of Adult Parole Operations, GEO and the Urban Mission are part of the 10-week long project.

This pilot gardening project is at the Urban Mission in Pomona. Program facilitator Rev. Stephen Patten is a Master Gardener and former high school teacher.

Restorative Gardening focuses on the inner self by using the curriculum/format of the Restorative Justice model to assist in the healing and restoration of the individual.

All parolees and staff meet in the circle to check-in and then work in the garden in stages.

Each week will focus on internal and external growth and restoration. The final weeks will be to harvest what has grown and to gather for a meal of the food that has been produced.

This garden will also provide fresh vegetables to the Pomona community.

All the parolees volunteered but were later surprised to find out that they would be paid to participate. Each day they attend, they are required to fill out a time card. All those who complete the project will be paid for hours worked with a maximum of $300. There is also an opportunity for a few to be selected to join in as facilitators to assist in the next class.

Learn more about the Urban Mission in Pomona