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The Closure of Ohio's 10 Prison Farms Means Less Produce for Foodbanks


The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction plans to phase out farming at its 10 prisons throughout the state. Some of that food is produced through a partnership with foodbanks. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles says the two sides have talked about how the shutdown will affect the food supply for needy Ohioans.


The Ohio Second HarvestFoodbank’s Lisa HamlerFugitt says she’s met with state prison leaders about the potential prison farm closings.

“We were assured that we will continue with business as usual this growing season and the door is open to continue to have conversations about how this partnership can evolve into the future.” 

Hamler Fugitt says the eight-year partnership between her group and the prisons has yielded more than 800,000 pounds of fresh veggies.That’s enough to fill 20 semi trailers.

The prison farm program has been going on in Ohio for more than 100 years. Prison leaders say the farming program is no longer in line with the goal of preparing inmates for life after prison.

Here is an infographic from a 2014 analysis of Ohio's prison farm program.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.