Female State Inmates in Jackson County Participating in New Gardening Program

OCTOBER 2, 2006 - Posted at 7:32 a.m. CDT

NEWPORT, AR - Horticulture classes at the state's only women's prison is proving therepeutic and practical.  Inmates say they enjoy the program and some plan to use what they learn to get jobs after they leave the prison at Newport.

Billy Davis, Jr. of Bald Knob, the program instructor, says he loves teaching the classes.  Davis taught horticulture and landscaping at Tucker prison before starting the program at Newport.  Both programs are administered by Riverside Vocational Technical School.

The inmates have classroom space at the Newport prison and an outdoor greenhouse.

They used skills they learned to create the White County Master Gardeners booth for the White County Fair, including the backdrop, flooring and container plantings.  The display won a blue ribbon.  Also, some have been commissioned to create 200 container plantings for the 2007 International Master Gardeners Conference.  The conference will be held in Little Rock in May.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)