Berkeley County jail garden benefits inmates, facility

Berkeley County jail garden benefits inmates, facility

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Female inmates at Berkeley County's Hill-Finklea Detention Center have started gardening and growing food.

The garden, behind barbed-wire fences, is filled with rows of plants beginning to bear fruit, herbs and blossoming flowers.

Director Randy Demory said the idea of the jail garden sprouted to keep the female inmates active and occupied.

"We decided on the garden because it is very productive," Demory said. "We get them outside, get their hands in the dirt and give them something different to do than sitting around all day."

Over the past few months, inmates like Lynn Harden have planted seeds, turned the soil and pruned plants.

"Stress relieving gets you out of the same four walls," Harden said.

Lynn said the job is rewarding and offers the slight taste of freedom.

She is on day 20 of a 90-day sentence for DUS and misuse of 911, she said.

"When you come out here, it is a totally different atmosphere," Harden said after loosening soil in the rose garden.

Inmates eligible for gardening duties work side-by-side with a master gardener and community volunteers.

Besides satisfying work, the jail garden gives women fresh food to eat.

They have already enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

"The stuff that we've harvested, our jail kitchen has prepared for them fried up zucchini and things of that nature," Demory said.

The hope is the women who work in the garden learn skills and put them to use as soon as they get out.

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