The staff and offenders at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific are preparing their 2014 Restorative Justice Garden.

Started last year, the garden was possible not only because of dedicated offenders, volunteers and staff, but also because of the generosity of the community. For example, Route 66 Organics donated a truckload of compost, a busines in Pevely donated several bags of fertilizer, and the Agape House made several trips to the institution to pick up the produce to be distributed free to the community through its food pantry.

This year’s garden is already being prepared, and the inmates and staff are excited. They hope to exceed last year’s contributions of 4,500 pounds.

Restorative Justice allows the offenders the opportunity to “give back” for the harms they have caused their victims, families and society. Volunteers supervise the offenders throughout the growing season while the offenders grow the garden.

Anyone interested in being a Volunteer In Corrections, should contact Institutional Activities Coordinator Joel Idleman at 636-257-3322, extension 1275.