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Inmates become beekeepers


by: COURTESY PHOTO - A lucky few inmates at the states only womens prison get to care for three hives buzzing with honey bees. Thousands of bees are now living at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility with their new caretakers, the inmates.

As part of the first prison beekeeping program in Oregon, inmates will care for three hives, each containing one queen and up to 5,000 drone and worker bees.

Ten adults in custody at the minimum-security prison will ensure the bees are well fed and cared for. In addition to taking care of the bees, the inmates will take classes and work toward becoming certified apprentice beekeepers.

The program, sponsored by the Oregon State Beekeeper Association, is part of the Oregon Department of Correction’s sustainability efforts. One of the agency’s sustainability goals is to provide adults in custody with job skills through sustainability practices.

Job preparedness is one component that contributes to successful reentry into society and reduced recidivism. CCCF in Wilsonville is the state’s only women’s facility and houses more than 1,200 inmates.