In this study, 11 inmates from two different correctional institutions in Oregon were interviewed about their experiences of working full-time in a prison-based horticulture program. The interviews were coded and analyzed using a phenomenological methodology. Four overarching themes emerged, all of which were related to participants’ personal growth: healthy lifestyle, increased life skills, positive emotions, and positive attitudes. A socioecological model was developed to illustrate ways in which the participants’ areas of growth extended across four distinct domains: individual, interpersonal, environmental, and societal. Factors that supported or inhibited participants’ growth included solitude, negative interactions with others, characteristics of the prison environment, autonomy, fresh air, and connection with nature.
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