Shasta County’s work release program is restarting after being suspended for five years.
Budget cuts shut down the program several years ago, but funds from the AB109 program are reviving it.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said there are about 200 inmates in the program. The inmates come to south Redding at the Sheriff’s Department’s Annex between Breslauer Way and Radio Lane to work off their sentence.
There the inmates grow fruits and vegetables to donate to non-profit organizations such as the Good News Rescue Mission and the Shasta Senior Nutrition Program.
Bosenko said it’s a good deal for everyone, especially the inmates.
“It is a bonus,” Bosenko said. “It gets them out and about, gets them out in the sunshine, and helps give them a feeling of returning to the community for the work that they do."
Next door lays the Shasta County Probation Department’s greenhouse and tomato garden.
It provides the opportunity for adults and especially juveniles to get their hands dirty and clear their minds.
“I do see some pretty rewarding stories,” said Probation Assistant Dave Humphries. “I seem some kids that end up going into the service later, or see kids out there working in the field, working maybe at a restaurant or grocery store or something like that.”
Interim Chief Probation Officer Traci Neal said the activity is key.
“Doing the gardening involves them in pro-social activities and it gets them involved in working together as a team,” Neal said. “And they’re able to see the outcome of the growth of the tomatoes.”
All the tomatoes are organic.
Some of them are sold to local stores and restaurants for money to keep growing the tomatoes.