2019.07.07 12:00

Gardening at Lithuanian women's prison – 'No one will bring us strawberries here'

While many Lithuanian farmers complain about droughts devastating their crops, inmates in Panevėžys Women's Correctional Facility are reaping homegrown vegetables and berries.

“No one will bring us strawberries here,” Laima, who is serving a sentence at the facility, tells LRT TV.

She says that the women here are using banana peels, onions or egg shells as fertilizers. While some know their way around a garden, others had to learn how to tell weeds from dills.

The management of the Panevėžys correctional facility say gardening is a therapeutic activity for the inmates, but for some it offers skills that they can use once they finish their sentences.

“The agricultural program is one of our positive employment measures: it's both work and training,” says Laima Krasauskienė, the prison's resocialization department head. “Some women come here with experience [of growing vegetables], others without any.”

Several dozen inmates of the correctional facility engage in gardening. They expect a good harvest, drought notwithstanding. The women joke that they have enough time to water the plants.

“We should have a good harvest,” better than last year, says another inmate, Violeta. “We now have more skills and experience.”

Some inmates engage gardening with children who live behind bars with their mothers.