For Immediate Release
Inmate Written Article about Class Experience of Horticulture Program
Class of 2015 authors a first-hand account
FORSYTH, Ga. – Inside Macon State Prison, inmates have been afforded the opportunity to put their green thumbs to the test in the Horticulture program, offered through South Georgia Technical College, at the facility, located in Oglethorpe, Ga. Inmates have been enrolling in this program, annually, since June 2012. Recently, the Class of 2015 penned an article providing an insider’s look into the program.
Class of 2015
by Michael Torres
Edited by class
We, the class of 2015 work as a team in everything that we do, utilizing the skills we have obtained from our experienced instructor, Mr. Arthur Willis. Mr. Willis has a bachelor's degree in general agriculture with a concentration in plant and soil science. He is also certified in Agricultural Education with over 40 years of experience in the field. We have 10 students and 4 aids totaling 14 inmates involved with Macon State's Horticulture Program. All current aids are graduates of the class. This is a 1 year course holding graduations in June of each year beginning in 2012. We have graduated more than 25 students from the program, many of which have been since released and are currently employed in the horticultural field and doing very well.
Students are trained in every aspect of plant culture; for example: plant propagation, plant fertility, landscape maintenance, landscape design, and business aspects of the field and many more. We are instructed in various techniques used in the horticultural field today from planting flowers, both annual and perennial, shrubs used in today's landscapes, as well as many fruits and vegetables. The class even has its own greenhouse as well as outside laboratory (garden). We learn to diagnose and treat several plant ailments from various diseases to insect damage.
Mr. Willis teaches that by working together, we not only obtain a good trade, but also practice and utilize our hands-on skills, and display unity as a whole. Also by working together one takes into mind the environment we are in. We put aside all the ethnicity and break the bonds of segregation that many in today's society struggle with.
Whether we put to use the horticultural skills we've attained, each and every one of us will leave this place with something that no one can take away; a gift that knowing that regardless of the place or time, no matter how bad the situation, that with a positive mindset, together we the people can and will succeed.
The Horticulture class is a one-year program and since it’s implementation in June 2012 has seen more than 25 graduates. Inmates, who participate in this program, are trained on the following topics: Exploring Careers in Horticulture, Using Pesticides Safely, Insecticides, Groundcover, Shrubs, and Trees, Annuals and Perennials and Bulbs, Planting Liner Stock, Pruning Landscape Plants, Describing Basic Properties of Soil, Propagating Plants From Seed, Relating Fertilizer To Plant Nutrients, Tools Safety, and Work Ethics.
The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees.
For more information on the GDC call 478-992-5247 or visit gdc.ga.gov.