October 14, 2015
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AVON PARK, Fla. –The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today highlights the Therapy Through Plants program at Avon Park Correctional Institution (APCI). Earlier this month, ten inmates who participated in the program at APCI received Master Gardener certifications from the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA).
Secretary Julie Jones said, “Programs like Therapy Through Plants are critically important to ensuring that inmates transitioning back into Florida’s communities have the skills and resources they need to live a positive, productive and crime-free life. I applaud the hard work and dedication displayed by these individuals in their pursuit of self-improvement, education and rehabilitation.”
Founded in the early 1960’s, the initial purpose of the nursery at APCI was to provide elderly inmates with viable and productive tasks while supplying plants for the grounds surrounding the facility. Throughout the years, institutional staff have gained tremendous support and funding from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs (FFGC), allowing the program to grow into an outstanding re-entry initiative that provides inmates at APCI with effective and marketable job skills. Recently, the FNGLA has partnered with APCI to make the Therapy Through Plants program a way for inmates to not only learn the skills necessary to enter the horticultural trade upon release, but also receive the Master Gardener certification necessary for competitive employment.
For more information on educational and vocational programs, as well as other re-entry initiatives, within the Florida Department of Corrections, please contact the Office of Communications at (850) 488-0420 or through email at PublicAffairs@mail.dc.state.fl.us.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 23,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.