Mississippi inmates harvesting 300 pounds of tomatoes a week

PARCHMAN, Miss. (AP) – Inmates at a prison in the Mississippi Delta are growing tomatoes in a greenhouse, and officials expect the harvest to be about 8,000 pounds by the end of May.

The state Department of Corrections resurrected two greenhouses last year at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman in an effort to rehabilitate inmates.

The department says tending more than 700 tomato plants increases inmates’ productivity and teaches them skills they can use after release.

Tomato seeds were planted in August. Since then, 15 to 18 inmates have spent about seven hours a day tending the plants. The department estimates they pick up to 300 pounds of tomatoes each week.

The tomatoes are being used to feed Mississippi inmates, and the department says it is considering selling some to outside vendors.

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