Established in 2016, Common Ground Relief partners with the Baton Rouge Community College to provide 1,500 hours of horticultural training to individuals incarcerated in Angola Penitentiary. Upon completion of the course and passing the rigorous state horticulture license exam, participants are qualified and have access to jobs in horticulture-related fields upon their release.
Common Ground Relief and Angola Penitentiary entered into a pilot program to find jobs for six participants who were released in 2017. Common Ground Relief has contracted with America Works to provide green job placement and counseling services. In addition, Common Ground Relief operates a marsh grass farm at Angola Penitentiary.
Restrictions on visitors to Angola during the COVID-19 pandemic effectively ended this program in 2020, underscoring the ties between public health, justice, and environment. We continue to work to build a future that prioritizes human life, health, and autonomy over carceral and extractive systems.