GreenHouse, based on Rikers Island, is dedicated to reducing the recidivism rate by offering men and women who are incarcerated an innovative jail-to-street program using horticultural therapy as a tool to prepare them for reentry.
Since 1996, GreenHouse has grown to encompass an educational setting on Rikers Island that includes a greenhouse, a classroom and over two and a half acres of landscaped and productive gardens, designed and built by inmates.
GreenHouse provides remedial education, skill development and vocational training in horticulture. Hands-on experience includes designing, installing and maintaining the multi-use gardens, and the design and construction of garden fixtures (benches, trellises, planters, etc.) Upon graduating from the program on their release, they have the option to join the GreenTeam, our vocational internship program.
In 2006, New Village Press published The Horticultural Society’s book Doing Time in the Garden
, an account of the GreenHouse program, by James Jiler, former GreenHouse Director. Doing Time in the Garden
is widely read in classrooms and by professionals across the country in fields including horticultural therapy, vocational training in corrections
facilities, and reentry preparation.