Harvest time while serving time

RAPID CITY S.D. (KOTA TV) - Inmates at the Pennington County jail continue their gardening work this summer - it's the fifth summer for the garden. Produce grown at the Box Elder garden feed inmates and are also donated to area non-profits.

In 2013 there were just four garden plots, now there are 14. Retired Pennington County employees teach inmates how to tend to the fruits and vegetables and how to prepare them.

"A lot of the guys some of the vegetables they're never had. We'll explain to them different ways to prepare it, as far as cooking it- frying it, boiling it, baking it and we do that out here," says Leo Spear the inmate supervisor for the garden project.

Now it's harvest time - inmates spend their time pulling carrots, radishes and potatoes. It's a choice to volunteer in the jail garden.

"It gives them a sense of giving back to the community especially the stuff we give to the mission, WAVI, and the women's mission. It gives them a sense of giving back plus out here they do most of the work," says Spear.

They work 3 days a week in the garden and, the 3 to 6 person work crew is chosen based on a number of factors.

"The inmates that come out here have to meet certain criteria. Number one they have to be sentenced but it has to be an nonviolent type of crime a DUI's, some type of drug crime, something like that," says Spear.

So far this year they've harvested 4-thousand pounds of produce and the growing season isn't over yet.