Jail garden helps save taxpayer money - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

Jail garden helps save taxpayer money

Inmates at the Tipton County jail are taking the term "will work for food" to a new level by growing their own vegetable garden.

Jail inmates have learned a thing or two about gardening,

"Its something new to me personally," said inmate Walter Cross. 

They've also learned how to save some money. 

"Its just enjoyable being outside, being able to work - trying to show we're doing a little bit to re-do our wrongs," Cross said.

"They can get out here and work in the garden and watch the fruits of their labor," said jail administrator J.B. Mitchell.

From squash and corn to tomatoes and peas, this garden has it all. 

And its vegetables are saving Tipton County taxpayers some five thousand dollars a year in food costs.
"Anything you can do, the county can do to offset their food costs is a positive," said Captain Mitchell.
This is the second year jail inmates worked to put food on their own table.

"Peas, I like peas," said Cross.

Its their work that makes them proud.

"It makes you feel a lot better about yourself in here, it makes you feel like you're doing something positive in here," said Cross.

The Sheriff says the garden also prevents the inmates from causing trouble inside the jail.

"They get out here and work and they're not as active when they get in - they want to go to sleep instead of causing trouble," said Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley.

Chumley says the garden also represents an important life lesson.

"If you don't work, you don't eat and it teaches the people to get out and work instead of sit around and get free stuff all the time," Chumley said.

Sentenced inmates pay a room and board fee of 25 dollars per day they have to stay in jail, but by working in the garden, their fees and sentence can be reduced. 

Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.

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