- Associated Press - Saturday, May 6, 2017

WAIPAHU, Hawaii (AP) - Farming experience is now on the resumes of a group of Hawaii inmates.

The Waiawa Correctional Facility’s farming program is a job training and rehabilitation option for its inmates, KITV-TV reported (https://bit.ly/2phbjEE) Friday. The inmates grow an assortment of vegetables such as romaine lettuce that are sent to other prison facilities or sold to outside groups.

“The farm program for us is critical because of the skills that it teaches to these guys that they’re probably not going to get at any other place,” said Robert Mahaffey, the administrator of Hawaii Corrections Industries.

Participants say they enjoy the program because it lets them be outdoors and form camaraderie. “It’s a pleasure to get out and be able to work in the open besides being locked up,” inmate Colin Young of Kauai said.

After harvesting the crops, the inmates thoroughly clean the produce before it’s sent off. Some of it used in meals at facilities. Other vegetables go to entities such as the state hospital, YMCA Fernhurst and a community college, Waiawa Prison Farm Director Milton Sato said.

There are plans to invest more into the program and expand their operation, Mahaffey said.

“We’re looking at upgrading our washing station and getting it to a point where we’re exceeding standards so that we can start working with anybody that wants to do business with us,” he said.

The expansion talks make the participating inmates proud.

“It gives us a sense of some kind of accomplishments that at the end of our day you know, we go back to the building and we accomplished something. We helped out and gave back because a lot of us took a lot, so this is about giving back for me,” Young said


Information from: KITV-TV, https://www.kitv.com/index.html

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