The Green Brigade: The Psychological Effects of a Community-based Horticultural Program on the Self-development Characteristics of Juvenile Offenders

in HortTechnology

The Green Brigade horticultural program is a community-based treatment and diversion program for juvenile offenders. The objective of this study was to determine if participation in the Green Brigade program improved the self-esteem, locus of control, interpersonal relationships and attitude toward school of participating juvenile offenders. Participants in the Green Brigade program had significantly lower scores than the comparative group on measures of self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and attitude toward school prior to and after completion of the Green Brigade program. Although the Green Brigade participants' scores were significantly lower than the comparative group's scores, the means were still considered `normal' for their age group. However, adolescents participating in coed sessions, where the hands-on activities involved plant materials, displayed more positive interpersonal relationship scores than participants in an all male session where the hands-on activities focused on the installation of hardscape materials and a lack of plant materials. No significant differences were found in rates of repeated crimes of juvenile offenders participating in the Green Brigade program when compared to juvenile offenders participating in traditional probationary programming.

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