Garden fosters rehabilitation at SVSP

Man holds shovel over fresh garden plot with flowers.
Flowers planted at Facility A yard in Salinas Valley State Prison help further rehabilitation efforts.

Donations, staff bring first garden to SVSP Facility A

A Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) garden is brightening rehabilitative efforts for incarcerated people. It’s all thanks to the efforts of staff volunteers and donations from area businesses.

In July 2020, prison leadership and staff created a flower garden to provide additional therapy to the incarcerated population on Facility A. Local businesses donated materials to create the garden.

Those behind the effort were:

  • Warden Matthew Atchley
  • Community Resource Manager Alma Tamayo
  • Facility A Capt. Lenard Pennisi
  • Recreation Therapist (RT) Maxine Sanchez.

Sanchez wanted to introduce a twist on therapeutic remedy by planting a flower garden for those housed on SVSP Facility A. Caring for flowers gives the incarcerated population a sense of pride, allowing them to see something blossom.

Sanchez said she’s hopeful the incarcerated men on Facility A will see the growth of the flowers and look at their own blossoming and metamorphosis of change and growth.

“The living and growing flowers will be therapeutic, in that as incarcerated people tend to the garden, it reminds them how ‘tending their own garden’ is like changing one’s coping skills, behaviors and habits from negative to positive,” Sanchez said. “Being a witness to the growth of these plants and flowers can remind inmates of their own metamorphosis, which can also be a beautiful thing. Growing pains are needed in order to become the men they were intended to be.”

With gracious donations from local Monterey County vendors, the flower garden has brightened Facility A.

The organizers at SVSP expressed gratitude for the donations provided by Ace Hardware (Salinas and Marina), Home Depot (Salinas), and Walmart (Salinas and Marina).

“Without their help, this project would not have been possible,” organizers said.

By Lt. W. Fonseca

Read more rehabilitation stories.

Follow CDCR on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.