Detroit garden nurtures inmates near end of prison sentences
BY JOHN GALLAGHER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Michigan prison inmates finishing their sentences at the Gateway
halfway house on East Jefferson Avenue at Lillibridge Street have
created a small but vibrant example of an inner-city garden. Using a
vacant lot and recycled debris from a demolished house nearby, the
inmates are growing corn, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, lettuce and
The men give away the fruits and vegetables to needy people and
appreciate purposeful work to fill their final days of incarceration.
For James (Bear) Fuller, 51, who spent 34 years in prison for
homicide, the garden is a metaphor for the changes he and other
prisoners have tried to make in themselves.
“I look at vegetables and fruits like people,” Fuller said last week.
“They need to be nurtured, tended to. A garden needs to be weeded just
like a person’s spirit.”
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