Utah Department of Corrections

Prison pumpkin patch produces smiles!

            DSC_0041DSC_0024

            DSC_0056DSC_0071

The great pumpkin patch at the Utah State Prison has once again produced a bumper crop of smiles from children with significant multiple disabilities and at-risk and hospitalized children!

On Thursday, officers delivered a truckload of pumpkins to 187 students at the Kauri Sue Hamilton School in Riverton. Next Tuesday, they'll take another truckload of pumpkins to Jordan Valley School in Midvale.

Earlier in the month, officers delivered pumpkins to Primary Children's Hospital, Shriner's Hospital and other organizations that serve children.

The pumpkin program gets underway in June, when inmates participating in the Green Thumb program plant seeds in a 3-acre patch at the prison. They carefully tend the plants throughout the summer and then pick the pumpkins in early October. Each pumpkin is bleached and scrubbed to ensure they are safe for hospitalized children.

For inmates who work in the prison's greenhouse program, the annual pumpkin project is a way to engage in a positive activity that serves the community and benefits children.

"It teaches the guys ethics and responsibility ... and also about the rewards that come with hard work," said Officer Gerald Jarrett, one of the greenhouse supervisors.

Officer Lance Christensen, who works in maintenance, has helped deliver pumpkins to schools for two years. "We just get to enjoy the fruits of the Green Thumb workers' labor," he said.