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Master Beekeeping Program to begin at Lee State Prison

There are currently six GDC Beekeeping programs in facilities across the state, with more than one hundred offenders who are now Certified Beekeepers.

Two Hives and Thousands of Bees Donated

Beekeeping is now ‘a thing’ at another Georgia prison.

The University of Georgia donated two hives and approximately 3,000 honeybees to Lee State Prison this week to help kick off the Master Beekeeping Prison Protecting Pollinators program at the facility.  This unique program focuses on teaching beekeeping skills in order for bee populations to continue to grow, and provides the offenders an opportunity to earn Certified Beekeeper certificates.

The program was initially written by a Smith State Prison inmate in Glennville, Ga. back in 2012. He wrote a course of study that the University of Georgia edited and approved. In the early stages of the program, the facility purchased items and gathered donations from local bee clubs to create cardboard beehives. The inmates utilized their talents to write detailed, practical instruction on how to make a beehive. From there, the idea flourished and the Inmate Services division began implementation of the Beekeeping course.

“Educational and vocational programming is the key to success for offenders when they are released,” Commissioner Timothy C. Ward said in a news release. “We are thankful for the University of Georgia and our community partnerships, and the important role they play in our reentry efforts.”

As one of the Georgia Department of Corrections’ inmate reentry initiatives, the beekeeping program provides offenders the opportunity to learn the process of beekeeping, how honey benefits our communities, and allows them to build a variety of skills that will assist them in becoming contributing members of society upon release.

There are currently six GDC Beekeeping programs in facilities across the state, with more than one hundred offenders who are now Certified Beekeepers.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

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