PLUS program at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility helping reshape offender's lives

A program at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility is doing its part in reshaping offenders. The 18-month program has helped many over the last 14 years.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 6:36 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2020 6:40 PM

CARLISLE, Ind. (WTHI)- In the summer months, you can find Richard Martin in the dirt.

"When we first go out we till the ground you can make mounds for certain vegetables, green beans, zucchini, squash," said Martin.  

Gardening is a hobby Martin picked up unexpectedly, at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

While serving his time, Martin is in the program called Purposeful Living Units Served, or PLUS program.

"Prison can be a depressing thing. When you wake up you know there's a purpose that you're in there to do something that, it just makes it where when you're going through that change you're also helping other people change that's right there beside you," said Martin. 

The program helps change the offender's lifestyles.

It lasts for 18-months. Offenders take classes teaching them life skills, like making better decisions.

They also do hours of community service like sewing quilts, face mask and gardening of course.

Everything they grow or make is sent to food pantries in the community.

"95% of offenders are actually released so they need to be prepared," said Jackie Storm, the community service director for the facility.

"In 6 months we tell them we know your family can see a difference in you. And to see the difference and the change that they do and the things that they learn to do and how they can become better people, it's a huge transition for them," said Storm. 

Martin told News 10 there's no doubt this program has saved his life.

"I'm doing something good even though I'm in prison this program has made such a change for me that I'm doing something good for other people," said Martin. 

Storm said at the end of the program the offenders do have a graduation.

Martin told us when he's released, he even wants to have his own garden.

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