Weeds and Seeds: Reflections from a Gardening Project for Juvenile Offenders

?Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture

Weeds and Seeds: Reflections from a Gardening Project for Juvenile Offenders BySarah E. Twill, PhD, MSW, Tara Purvis, and Michael Norris, PhD

Efforts to engage juvenile offenders in beneficial programming that promotes prosocial skills is often difficult. Gardening, however, is one activity that has shown preliminary benefits for incarcerated populations. This research adds to that small body of knowledge by reporting on a formative evaluation examining the use of a gardening program in a juvenile rehabilitation center. Nineteen youth participated in a gardening project during the summer of 2010. Qualitative and quantitative data suggest that the youth benefit from gardening. Two themes, gardening promotes a new self-concept and gardening helps emotional and behavioral management, emerged. Implications for future practice and research are discussed.