A program that allows low-level criminals to be productive members of the
community in Central Florida is the Work Farm Program. The participants
in this program are non-violent offenders, who grow and pick vegetables,
and then ship these vegetables to the Brevard County Jail.
Cpl. Jay Moffitt with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said those
low-level criminals allowed to participate in the program live at home,
go to work at their place of employment, but then on their days off, serve
out their sentences by working on the farm.
Moffitt said the onions alone the participants grow saves approximately
$8,000 in tax dollars per year. On the farm, lettuce, sweet potatoes,
green beans, carrots, corn and zucchini are also grown. These vegetables,
according to leaders at the Sheriff’s office, would cost around
$25,000 a year if purchased at the grocery store.
Helping the Criminals and the Community
Cpl. Moffitt said by allowing non-violent criminals to participate in the
farm program, not only are the participants keeping their jobs and not
using resources from taxpayers funds, but are making the community a better
place by growing vegetables for use at the jail.
According to cfnews13.com, the majority of jails in Central Florida do
not have work farm programs. However, the Lake County Sheriff’s
Office website reports the Corrections Bureau does have an inmate crew
that works on an eleven-acre garden five days a week. This garden not
only provides vegetable’s for the inmates, but for non-profit groups as well.
Another facility with a work program for inmates is the Seminole County
Jail. According to Sheriff’s Office officials, certain inmates are
permitted to work at the jail’s hydroponic garden to not only grow
food for inmates at the jail, but to gain skills that will assist them
in obtaining a job once their sentences are served and they are released
back into the community.