Effects of the Master Gardener Program on the Self-development of Female Inmates of a Federal Prison Camp

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-2133

More than one million people were incarcerated in U.S. prisons at the end of June 1995. Increasing emphasis has been placed on inmate rehabilitation with society's realization that 95% of those incarcerated will be released from prison and returned to society. The responsibility of undertaking the rehabilitation process lies in part with vocational programs, one of which is horticulture. In addition to developing job skills, horticulture may provide another viable means of rehabilitation in the form of horticultural therapy. The women's Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, implemented the Master Gardener program as part of its vocational training program in March 1991. The prison's Master Gardener program is sponsored by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and constitutes a horticultural therapy program. More than 225 inmates have completed the program; however, the effectiveness in inmate rehabilitation brought about by such programs has not been extensively documented. Consequently, our objectives were to determine the effects of participation in the Master Gardener program on the locus of control, self-esteem, and life satisfaction of female inmates. About 80 inmates were administered a pretest before the Master Gardener program and an identical posttest at its conclusion. The 55-item questionnaire included a biographical section, a locus of control inventory, a self-esteem inventory, and a life satisfaction inventory. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Results examine the relationship between the Master Gardener program and the psychological well-being of the female inmates at the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas.

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