Through an innovative green jobs initiative created by PHS and its partners, inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System are finding a path to employment in urban agriculture and landscape management enabling them to become productive members of their communities.
With training from PHS staff, inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System receive instruction in gardening and landscape management. This intensive hands-on training focuses on horticultural practices, landscape maintenance, greenhouse operations, carpentry, and masonry skill sets. The training also includes course work in workforce literacy, job readiness, health education, and occupational therapy. Upon completion, program participants will receive post release support from PHS and its partners including job placement helping inmates make the transition to life outside the prison walls.
Formerly based at Friends PHS Roots to Reentry has expanded its work on the prison campus by restructuring the training program to include additional skills in green jobs. In addition to the greenhouse and gardening projects through PPS City Harvest, a program that raises fresh produce for communities in need, R2R in partnership with PPS will integrate its training program with the PPS Greening initiatives, including composting and fruit orchard operations and management.
Selected inmates receive 12 weeks of training, which includes workforce literacy, health and job preparedness workshops offered through the Federation of Neighborhood Centers: Career Support Network (CSN). Upon graduation, graduates are linked to a network of green industry employers. In addition the Federation of Neighborhood Centers provide one tear of post release support. This supports includes but is not limited to aiding graduates with job placement housing, continuing education, healthcare and childcare.
Roots to Re-Entry’s employer partners offer a direct link to the landscaping industry for participants and, at the same time, are helping to develop a new workforce for their industry.
Upcoming R2R News:
• PHS in collaboration with PPS, will pilot an innovative passive solar greenhouse project while training inmates in greenhouse construction techniques.
• Opening of the new ornamental plant nursery which will donate plant material including perennials, and woody trees and shrubs to community gardens as well as other Philadelphia residents.
JP Morgan Chase Foundation
The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Philadelphia Prison System Board of Trustees
The Restorative Reentry Justice Foundation
The Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation
Liberty Tree & Landscape Management
Moon Site Management
Vacant Land care groups
Philadelphia Prison System
Defender Association of Philadelphia
Office of the District Attorney
Federation of Neighborhood Centers: Career Support Network (CSN)