BENTON CO., Ark. (KTHV) - A new community program has started in Benton County thanks to the sheriff's office and a little help from inmates looking for a second chance at life.
According to CBS affiliate KFSM, six female inmates from the Benton County jail have planted a several crops which include tomatoes, potatoes, and squash. Once the food is harvested from the aptly named Inmate's Garden, it then gets donated to local food pantries.
By joining up to tend to garden and water the plants, these women have a chance to get a little sunshine and contribute to society while serving time for the crimes they have committed. Just like work detail, inmates are hoping their good intentions lead to an earlier release date.
And everything about the garden is inmate influenced. From the tilled dirt to harvesting, everything relies on the dedication and work of the women.
"Some of them have never even had the opportunity to do any kind of gardening work, so they're actually learning something," said Sergeant Shannon Jenkins of the Benton County Sheriff's Office. "They're learning some life skills and they're also learning how to give back to the community because what they're working on, it's going to be in food pantries at some point."
Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway has been eyeing the project for quite some time, so he requested a jail chaplain to lead the project. The Farm Bureau donated proceeds to help buy seeds to jumpstart the program.
Jenkins hopes to expand the program by adding flower beds around the side of the buildings so inmates have some gardening year round.