Rye Hill Prison Garden Project

The Rye Hill Garden Project is delivered by Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme team, and works in conjunction with Substance Misuse Services (SMS) and G4S, which operates the prison, and is funded by Public Health England (Northamptonshire).

This horticultural intervention programme was set up at HMP Rye Hill to provide an environment to support offenders who have a background of drug misuse, with the aim of assisting their recovery, wider health and well-being.

The project was recently evaluated by Coventry University and the report found that overwhelmingly, the data identifies the significance of working in the garden to participants’ recovering journey and illustrated the relationship between the environment and recovery.

Researchers found that the garden provides a supportive environment and is conducive to addressing participants’ health and wellbeing and creates a sense of community between both offenders and the staff delivering the programme.

You can download a copy of the Coventry University’s report An Horticultural Intervention with Substance Misusing Prisoners here.

Prisoners on the project said:

“Makes my head feel clearer being in the garden. I like the fresh air so I’m not always inside. I like the people on the project. I like to be moving around, I like the principle of work and don’t like being still."

“I find the whole experience extremely positive and helpful in lots of ways. The most prominent factor is the freedom. It’s fantastic for me to get off the wing; it feels to me as though I’m working outside of the jail."

“Work is rewarding. We can taste what we’re growing. I’ve never done gardening before this prison. I didn’t know I liked it, but I love it.”