Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Over the past couple of decades, US prisons have increasingly implemented garden programs, either run by outside nonprofits or the prisons themselves. These programs have demonstrated reduced recidivism rates and have provided many prisoners with opportunities to spend time outside and improve physical and mental health. However, while these programs have been praised by many, including some of the prisoners themselves, the programs’ place in history is often overlooked. Even though prison garden programs have shown numerous benefits, they are connected to a long history of agricultural labor within prisons, which has its roots in slavery. This thesis explores prison garden programs as they exist today, provides an overview and history of horticultural therapy in prisons and other settings, and discusses the complexities of these programs which exist within a history of oppression.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Tyler Harper

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.