Case Study


Philadelphia: Roots to Re-Entry


Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Roots to Re-Entry provides citizens transitioning back into their communities from the Philadelphia Prison System with the tools and support they need to obtain meaningful employment in the horticulture and landscape industries.

Philadelphia, PA

Warm and humid summers, mild fall and spring, cold winters


42.2% African American, 36.9% White, 12.3% Hispanic, 6.3% Asian, 2.3% Other

Designed in collaboration with a strategic employer network, Roots to Re-Entry’s curriculum includes intensive hands-on training in horticulture, landscape maintenance, greenhouse operations, organic land care, hardscaping, nursery management, carpentry and wood working, irrigation and other green industry skill sets, as well as health and job preparedness workshops.

Since 2010, the recidivism rate for R2R graduates has been 30 percent, as compared to the average rate of 65 percent for the entire population of Philadelphia ex-offenders.

Selected inmates receive 12 weeks of training, which includes workforce literacy, health and job preparedness workshops offered through the Federation of Neighborhood Centers: Career Support Network (CSN).  Upon graduation, graduates are linked to a network of green industry employers.  In addition the Federation of Neighborhood Centers provide one year of post release support.  This supports includes but is not limited to aiding graduates with job placement housing, continuing education, healthcare and childcare.

Roots to Re-Entry’s employer partners offer a direct link to the landscaping industry for participants and, at the same time, are helping to develop a new workforce for their industry.Roots to Re-Entry

  • Cherry Blossoms Landscaping
  • Kaiserman Company
  • The National Fair Housing Alliance
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • The Philadelphia Prison System Board of Trustees
  • The Scholler Foundation
  • With training from PHS staff, inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System receive instruction in gardening and landscape management;
  • Intensive hands-on training focuses on horticultural practices, landscape maintenance, greenhouse operations, carpentry, and masonry skill sets;
  • The training also includes course work in workforce literacy, job readiness, health education, and occupational therapy;
  • Upon completion, program participants will receive post release support from PHS and our partners, including job placement helping inmates make the transition to life outside the prison walls.

Employer Partners

  • KJK Associates
  • Liberty Tree & Landscape Management
  • Moon Site Management
  • Brickman Group
  • Vacant Land care groups

Roots to Re-Entry Partners

  • PHS
  • Philadelphia Prison System
  • KJK Associates
  • Bartram’s Garden
  • Awbury Arboretum
  • Defender Association of Philadelphia
  • Office of the District Attorney
  • Federation of Neighborhood Centers: Career Support Network (CSN)
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