A Panhandle jail gives inmates the opportunity to learn while behind bars and serving their sentence. While most of those inmate programs are for men, there’s a new one for women.
Six women, four different types of vegetables and hundreds of pounds of produce have been harvested.
“Our female crew started about two weeks ago. And since then we have been busy about picking squash, Zucchini. The corns coming in and it’s getting ready to go,” shared Jennifer Scott, Walton County Detention Deputy.
This farming program not only instills hope in each one of the women inmates but, it also gives them a trade they can use once they are done serving their time.
“It’s bad enough so, being out here it just gives us time to be able to feel better and be able to actually to bring positive things to the jail,” shared Ariel Perrich, Walton Co. Inmate.
Perrich is just a few months shy of being released. She told us that the inmate farming program has given her a new outlook on life. “It gives me a lot more skills that I didn’t know that I had and that I want to say I want to go home and start growing my own tomatoes. It saves money on buying tomatoes.”
“It’s amazing because sitting in those pods all day long every day, you get depressed and so when they came to us and told us that they were starting a girl farm crew we were so excited,” said Jennifer Eberhardt, Walton Co. Inmate.
“We are not out here squashing problems. We are out here talking about day to day life and then learning about, you know, the process like what to pick,” said Deputy Scott.
After working 17 years as a deputy, Scott says this part of her job is most rewarding because she gets to be a mentor to these women. “We give them the skills that they need for life, to be successful in life and be successful in reintegrating into society.”
After all the vegetables are collected and cleaned, the food is taken to the kitchen where the staff cooks it and serves it to the Walton County Jail inmates.