While some may consider poor diets, inadequate healthcare, and overcrowding to be appropriate punishment for offenders, evidence suggests the byproducts of such hardships simply increase the long-term financial costs faced by taxpayers. It is therefore in everyone’s interests for the physical and mental health of prisoners to be improved, and to ensure that upon release they avoid reoffending and are able to contribute positively to the economy.
Building on this understanding and the success of their groundbreaking school and community gardening projects, our Movement of Life Uganda team has recently started working with the Uganda Prisons Service in the Isingiro District Government Prison. Teaching the scientific principles of Cellular Medicine, and gardening skills such as making natural compost and organic pesticides, the project is showing prison service staff how to grow fruit trees, vegetables, and medicinal plants. Cutting-edge studies prove that the provision of vitamin-rich nutrition not only improves overall physical health, but also prisoner behavior.
Fruit and vegetable gardening additionally has the potential to transform the future economic livelihoods of prisoners. For the reform and rehabilitation of prisoners to be successful, they need to be taught skills that can be used to earn a living. Without such skills, prisoners will always be at risk of reoffending, returning to prison, and adding to overcrowding. Fruit and vegetable gardening training thus offers a promising route towards reform and rehabilitation by teaching prisoners how to set up small agricultural businesses upon their release.
To learn more about our project with the Uganda Prisons Service, see this article on our website.