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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Food, farming, and our justice system: Horticulture programs in correctional settings
by MacCready, Stacy D., D.P.A., University of La Verne, 2014, 182; 3648372
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose. The purpose of this research was to examine how inmate horticulture programs have emerged and have been replicated in an effort to rehabilitate individuals, curtail spending, and reduce recidivism. The research explores how food justice and drug policy intersect, examining the roles of classism and racism and taking note of factors influencing recidivism.

Theoretical Framework. Diffusion of innovation analyzes the adoption of a new idea, technique, product, or service, focusing on how it is communicated and adopted by a social system over a period of time. It is necessary to understand the relationship among culture, values, existing practices, and political/social/environmental climate in order to facilitate the adoption of a new innovation.

Methodology. The researcher employed a mixed methods research design. The researcher performed a historical review of policies and events that led to the overcrowding of prisons and the criminalization of certain substances. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 individuals involved with inmate horticulture programs. Elements included in the study are the variation between programs and their perceived efficacy, challenges, and barriers.

Findings. Research findings revealed inmate horticulture programs fall into different areas of focus; innovative programs have blended components to provide integrated services. Five primary archetypes were identified: rehabilitative/therapeutic, punitive/labor, vocational, cost savings, and sustainability. Collaboration was crucial in framing the conversation, determining the skillsets of those involved, and the best way to leverage resources. Challenges to diffusing therapeutic inmate horticulture programs stem from social and political inflexibility.

Conclusions and Recommendations. The social construction of an issue or population impacts the political response, framing of issues, and type of media attention received. The amount of public demand to address the policy issue and federal government involvement influence the adoption and diffusion of innovations. The community benefits from horticulture programs, because former inmates are less likely to commit crimes or victimize people if they have been exposed to rehabilitative programs that prepare them for job opportunities upon release. Well-rounded programs give participants an understanding of food justice, horticulture, leadership, restoration, and healing and access to wraparound services.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schildt, Kaith
Commitee: Godwin, Marcia, Witt, Matthew
School: University of La Verne
Department: Business Management and Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Horticulture, Public administration, Criminology
Keywords: Diffusion of innovation, Drug policy, Food justice, Horticulture therapy, Prison garden, Rehabilitation
Publication Number: 3648372
ISBN: 978-1-321-45058-3
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